This past Wednesday, or "the day after," was rough for many of us. Whether your political stances lean right or left, you most likely woke up on Wednesday morning surprised. Political scientists certainly did. But historians? Maybe not so much.
Throughout our country's 240-year history, women have consistently taken the back burner to men and have been told to wait their turn. So we've waited. For a long time. We've watched men become president in every election and waited while men occupied three-fourths of the House and Senate. Where were women while more CEOs named John than women CEOs operated American businesses? Waiting. And we still are.
In fact, more likely than not, women college students experienced this very phenomenon in the college acceptance process. This is because the Title IX provision that bans gender discrimination in college admissions fails to extend to private colleges and universities in the U.S. Thus, women have a much harder time being admitted into schools such as Pomona College, Brown University and Vassar College. And these schools are already more difficult to be accepted to in the first place.
Regardless of the college process, American business/economics or politics, women really have had it hard no matter how you slice it. For many Americans, the historic nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president signaled the impending end of a time when women have to work twice as hard to be just as good. However, the results of Tuesday's election failed to bring that dream to fruition.
As students and professionals attempt to analyze Donald Trump's greatest upset in American political history, there really is another question we should be asking: where do women go from here? Where can we go from here?
I understand and agree that Hillary Clinton was not the best, most perfect candidate put forth by the Democratic Party. And as far as what she represented for women, she mainly brought the notion of idealized white feminism into focus. But regardless of the Clinton baggage, Hillary's nomination and near win in the 2016 Presidential Election was a symbol. Her loss was even more of one. As women read their Twitter and Facebook feeds on Wednesday morning, they were reminded of the times when they'd been denied a position because of their gender. They were reminded of the emotional cost women sometimes have to pay, simply for being women.
This election certainly sends an interesting message to women who are aspiring politicians. Many college students studying political science were dumbfounded this week, especially considering that a large portion of American universities are decidedly liberal. The scars of this election will be evident for many years to come, not just in the way the Trump presidency plays out, but especially in the way women in politics choose to move forward with their careers. Psychologically, this election could have damaged many females' will power to put themselves out there and run for the highest office in the land. Emotionally, this election damaged women's mental strength to stand up to patriarchal forces at work in our government. But these damages and hurdles won't stick around forever.
Only time will tell when another woman will be ready to step up and shatter the highest and hardest glass ceiling the world has ever known. For now, many young women are surprised and grieving, but all the while are still hoping that the first woman President of the United States of America is out there somewhere.
Lead Image Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons