Ward: Why is the United States afraid of women?

Madison Ward

As a whole I would say America has done alright for itself since 1776. We have definitely made our mistakes but we’ve also had some great triumphs, socially and politically. Of course not everyone will agree with everything this country has done, but for the most part, we are fairly well off. We have our rights, access to an innumerable amount of luxuries and we are protected by a solid military defense, among other things.

As much as I would love to see our poverty levels decrease and our judgement of other cultures end, I find it very hard to imagine myself personally thriving in another country simply based on the blessings I have received in this one. However, there is one glaringly obvious thing the United States is epically failing at while other countries have been doing it naturally for years: supporting women in charge.

Now that Hillary Clinton has officially thrown her hat into the ring for the second time, I think it’s time we take a look at how the U.S. compares to other countries in terms of supporting women who hold high offices. And as it turns out, seriously considering a woman for the office of president isn’t the only area in which women weren’t taken seriously in the U.S.

In preparation for this article I did substantial research into women who held a high position of power throughout the world. I went to all kinds of websites to try and track down a proper list of them all and with each new site I stumbled upon, I realized something — the U.S. was basically nowhere to be found until the late 1800s. And I should mention that the woman who finally broke through that particular glass ceiling was Susanna Salter. Salter was elected mayor of Argonia, Kan. in 1887.

For centuries prior to America even considering the possibility of a woman running any political office, other countries had been doing it openly and successfully. For example, there were a handful of female Pharaohs who ruled Egypt like Hatshepsut in the 15th century B.C. and Cleopatra from 69 to 30 B.C. As we work our way forward through our world’s history we see France, Spain and England all contributing to the list of female rulers and leaders.

Noting that countries had female leaders very early on in our globe’s history may not come off as all that surprising for various reasons. But when thinking about countries like France and England, which were growing in the industrial age at around the same rate as America, makes one wonder why we are so far behind. While arguments such as the U.S. government being numerically younger than other European governments are true, I believe we have since caught up. And statistically speaking, that is shown to be true in a Pew Research study that indicates America’s influence on other countries. In 2013, at least 50 percent of people who were polled in countries like Mexico, China and South Africa thought America had an influence on the way their country was being run. We have some impact on the world but clearly we aren’t letting the world have an impact on us in terms of having a woman in power.

I do think it’s a tad early to be preaching at you all to go vote for Hillary because she’s got about a year and a half to earn our votes and we shouldn’t vote for her just because she’s a woman, nor should we not vote for her because she’s a woman. However, I think that it’s just a little messed up that it has taken this long for people in a country so advanced in so many other ways to be solidly backing a female who has aspirations of running for president. And perhaps as we watch Hillary walk this path for the second time, we should not judge her capabilities as president based on her gender but her qualifications.