Is My Girlfriend Right In Saying America Can’t Accept A Woman President?

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With Hillary Clinton a frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election, we wonder if this country is actually ready to support and elect a woman president. (weareultraviolet.org photo)
With Hillary Clinton a frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election, we wonder if this country is actually ready to support and elect a woman president. (weareultraviolet.org photo)

If Donald Trump continues on his chosen path to obnoxiously offend at almost every opportunity, there will be blood: His own.

After targeting undocumented Mexican immigrants as violent and criminal, he doubled down by offending hundreds of millions more Americans with his sexist responses after Fox News host Megyn Kelly legitimately questioned him. Kelly asked about his past unflattering descriptions of women at the first Republican presidential debate, and Trump responded by intimating that she was tough on him because she was dealing with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. And for a Republican to ruffle Fox News’ feathers, you know they must have done something very outrageous.

Read more: Trump Watch: His Greatest (and Disgusting) Debate Moments

But while Trump just keeps sinking lower and lower, it made me wonder if the country has progressed to where we can accept a woman as president.

Taking the idea from a conversation that I had with my girlfriend during the debate, she said she felt that the U.S. has not made it far enough to where we can. She believes a majority of both men and women just aren’t yet able to accept Hillary Clinton, or any woman, as Commander-in-Chief.

While the election of Barack Obama signaled significant racial progress from even 50 years ago, this country continues to lag behind when it comes to female political leadership. The fact is many European countries, including England and Germany, have elected female executives and also enjoy greater gender equality than the U.S.

Incredibly, it took this country until 1919 — more than 140 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence — and decades of activism by the woman’s suffrage movement to pass the 19th amendment, which granted all women the right to vote.

Read more: Women Are Finally Breaking Sports’ Glass Ceiling

To gauge the opinions of American women on the issue — because as a man I am more interested in what they think — I asked for their takes online, and my girlfriend helped by asking her friends for their thoughts. Though this was obviously an informal poll, the results were near even between those who feel the country is not in a place where it can accept a woman as the executive and those who think that we are.

As none who were asked to reply to the question were public figures or work in politics, their identities were promised to remain anonymous in order to elicit the most honest and forthright responses.

“I really don’t know if the country as a whole can handle a female president, I know I could if it was the right candidate,” one said. “I think it will be harder to get a female elected than it was for Obama to get elected.”

“Even though roughly half the population in this country is female, women are still looked at as lesser to men in so many ways — professionally, academically (and) in business,” she added. “We have too few female CEOs at major corporations and too few female politicians.”

Read more: Poll: Hillary’s Unfavorable Rating at 8-Year High

Another struck a different chord and thought that even if the country as a whole isn’t there yet, it is voters’ responsibly to push the U.S. toward that eventuality.

“I not only support a woman for president but think it’s perhaps just what the country needs,” she said. “I suspect most Americans would agree that it’s time to go against the status quo in politics, and unfortunately, Donald Trump represents this as much as a woman who is a candidate.”

What’s most clear from the responses is that the reaction was mixed. In some ways that is not surprising. We live in a divided country and even among smart, successful and educated women who both support and want more women in political leadership, there is disagreement over whether the country has made enough progress.

But fortunately for those curious, it is a question that will be answered in November 2016.

Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.

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