Susan Smith Blakely

What Last Week’s Election Means for Women

I don't know what your politics are, and I really don't care.  You don't know my politics either, and we will keep it that way.  My parents taught me not to talk about religion, politics or sex in polite conversation, and I try to remember it.

However, politics does not have to be part of the discussion about yesterday's election for the next President of the United States.  There were other issues at stake.  The election results were disappointing for some who were hoping to usher in the first woman president in the history of our country.  They wanted to hear the highest glass ceiling in the land shatter.  It did not work out that way, and, for them, I say do not lose heart.

This campaign season helped us to focus on issues that continue to be important.  Women's issues cannot be put on the back burner any longer, and the discussions in the national media over the course of the campaign about gender discrimination and female objectification, gender pay equity, women's health issues, a woman's right to choose and related topics have built on a narrative that is not going away.  Maybe you would have felt more comfortable with a woman president leading the charge on these issues, but that should not shut you down.

Keep on going to improve conditions for women.  And, for sure, do not take anything for granted.  This election was considered by some (including the pollsters who now are looking for work and will be for a long time) to be a done deal for Hillary Clinton days before the entire country voted.  National polls were repeatedly cited supporting that result.  And look how it turned out.

The takeaway is that we as women must always be vigilant.  The challenges still remain, and we always must be the best version of ourselves because we will continue to be judged differently than men.  Our mistakes will be judged more harshly, our behaviors will be judged more harshly, and even our appearances will be judged more harshly.  Nothing could have been more obvious in this campaign.  Both candidates tripped and fell, but it was the woman who suffered more.

Eyes are always on you.  Understand it, deal with it, and make it work for you.  If these challenges are what drive you to excellence and accomplishment without scandal and impeachment, then it is a good thing and you will be the kind of woman who is ready to lead.

All the way to the White House.

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