The H Factor: Could Hillary Clinton save Women?

Like most political wonks, I’m spending my week watching the Democratic National Convention and, like most Obama supporters, I am tired of hearing all the hoopla around Hillary Clinton. After all, whose convention is this anyway? It is certainly not hers, but in true Clinton fashion she is not opposed in the least to having the spotlight shine directly on her.

Let us be clear. Although she gave Obama a run for his money, she is not the candidate. He is. And furthermore, you can bet that if the shoe were on the other foot, Clinton would give Obama walking papers. My gut tells me she’d no sooner have Obama on the stage than George W. Bush himself. I wonder if America would be shouting out and sending delegates to vote for him – doubtful.

I completely understand that there is a group of women out there who think that putting her in the White House is somehow going to be the nail that shatters the glass ceiling, but I’m sorry to say they are wrong. Hillary Clinton is no more going to get women equal standing in the world than the Taliban.

Despite the fact that women have risen to be CEOs of PepsiCo, Avon, Xerox, Hewlett-Packard and other companies, their women employees are still making seventy cents on the dollar. Not one of these CEOs ‘saved’ women.

Martha or Operah haven’t cracked that glass and neither have the notable Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condi Rice. And although the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is third in line for the Presidency, her aspirations to help women gain more power in Congress are consistently undermined by men.

So, if all these amazing women can’t, as Hillary supporters say, “give us our due,” what makes us think Hillary can? Just having a woman in the White House will not solve all our ills. That is something, all women and, dare I say men, are going to have to do together.

Our first steps should be to ensure that as we gain power we bring women with us, as we gain authority we must ensure women get equal benefits and pay, as we gain influence we need to educate men on how important women’s contributions are in all areas.

We must also be accountable to ourselves and each other making sure we do not discriminate against women with children, women who have gaps in their lives because they nursed a loved one and women who missed work time because of their own trials with poverty or illness.

It is ‘we the women’ who need to band together in order to ensure that our everyday actions persuade our husbands, daughters, sons and selves to ‘give us our due’ never allowing our future to be reliant on one person or in this case one woman.

No doubt Hillary should be congratulated on her accomplishments. Her everyday trials of working in a male dominated Congress should never be diminished. We women however should not allow her minor defeat to deter us. We should alternatively embrace it, use it and move forward never allowing it to consume us and overlook the momentous success of another.

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