So, firstly, this Canadian can’t vote. But, that doesn’t mean I am absent of opinions or an interest in the political happenings of my neighbour to the south. Actually, it is incredibly important that I and many other Canadians monitor what is happening in this election (primaries and all) due to the future implications it has on our country, and, well, people….especially women.
Some big questions are being asked by articles with election coverage discussing Hilary, in particular. Some of my thoughts, in no particular order (or graceful narrative) are as follows.
DOES GENDER MATTER IN ONE’S VOTING CHOICE?
- Who would I vote for? I honestly don’t know. But, I will admit, the whole “gender thing” does weigh on me. I would be lying if I said that, in the case of this election cycle, that gender doesn’t matter. The symbol that a female elected president would be, is important to me. But I also know that I can’t simply look at gender and past platforms, experience and passion. It causes me to be terribly conflict. But, I can’t look past the fact that a female POTUS would be a big symbol of progress. Similar to Obama becoming the first black president, my own mayor Naheed Nenshi as the first muslim mayor, I believe North America could do with another strong woman in a very visible leadership position. The more we see, the more it becomes normalized.
- For example, think of Elizabeth Merkel. Her time in power has led to very few people focusing on the fact that she is a woman. Rather, they respect her (although one might not always agree with all her choices), revere her as a world leader and rarely comment on her latest pant suit.
WHAT IS MY SENTIMENT AROUND THE TENSION OF “IN-BETWEEN” GENERATION?
- I’m an in-betweener. I’m not a true millennial. I have scars from dealing with some aspects of gender inequity, but have not seen the same amount of scars (e.g., gender bias, wage gap) that many baby boomers have (or the perspective they have).
- Yes, yes and yes. I completely agree that the tension between wanting my career and my family. However, I have to keep reminding myself that I should be able to navigate this. I have spent years studying business and strategy – where tradeoffs are a reality – a balancing of risk and reward, making hard choices, etc. I find us hypocritical at times when we judge developing nations for not allowing women to have a career and family, but then don’t look at our own nations to ensure we are taking down barriers (e.g., family leave, etc.)
WHY ISN’T HILARY LETTING HER FEMINIST FLAG FLY?
- I wonder whether Hilary is also not banging the feminist gavel because she is still (in this day and age) having to focus on those issues that are not as relevant to women to try to prove herself to the male voting base
- I personally find that I have to avoid talking about some female centered issues when I myself am in a leadership role, particularly with men. I do feel like, at times, they diminish my perceived credibility because of what I might discuss. (Essentially, I have to “man it up” in conversations to maintain my own stature / leadership perception.)
- We talk about the potential for economic growth in the developing world as coming from women, but then we have to tip toe around the issue here as an issue of sex / gender, etc. here on the ground. I even took my Mom to the mat about political candidates with small children and overlooking them because that might be “too much” for them to handle. Those words would never come from our mouths of a male politician with a new baby.
- I think about Elizabeth Merkel on the cover of TIME. I was not invested or aware when she was elected to run Germany, but believe that she is a woman who no longer has to worry about being called a woman leader, judged on the “typical” female characteristics or judged by her pantsuits. She has power, she wields it, she influences and plays with the big dogs.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
- Makes me ask the question of how we light the fire earlier? How do we get younger women to realize the disparity before they may have to truly face it? I don’t care who you vote for, but let’s make sure this is an issue that people feel and understand before people feel more paralyzed to do something about it. The millennial generation is….(add stats here)
- I think that we start to push for more and become more radical as we have more scars, and we’ve worked to build up more armour. However, many just have those scars. They don’t have the armour because people have not been there for them.
- I do pray to see a female leader, but I also pray that my daughter is not having these same conversations in 30 years. I know we may have chipped away at things, but not to the same extent as we need to over the next 30 years.