She came. She saw. She conquered. On Thursday, July 28, 2016, less than a mile from where I was watching at a friend's house in Philadelphia, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first female presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party. Whether you love her or hate her, plan to vote for her or not, you have to admit this is a watershed moment for women in America.
I was lucky enough to see Secretary Clinton speak today at her kick-off rally at Temple University, and she offered perhaps one of the most profound commentaries on the significance of this moment. Speaking about Philadelphia's role as the birthplace of America, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed, she said, "Two hundred and forty years ago, the Founding Fathers couldn't imagine that someone who looked like me could be president. They couldn't imagine that someone who looked like Barack Obama could be president either."
And yet here we are, facing the very real possibility that the first Black president of the United States could be succeeded by the first female president of the United States. In the words of Angelica Schuyler via Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now."
But I'm not one to be overly optimistic. Just because we've made great strides in the last eight years doesn't mean we still don't have an uphill battle before us. Obviously we do, if these tweets instructing Hillary on the proper facial expressions to have when accepting a presidential nomination are any indication. (Seriously, when was the last time anyone tweeted to a man that he should smile more during a speech? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) That's why, as important as it is to stop and savor this moment as a victory of progress for women and men, it's equally important to continue the conversation about what gender equality really means, and keep on fighting against harmful gender stereotypes that would stop girls like Hillary Clinton from being the leaders they were born to be, if we want to keep this progressive momentum going. After all, like HRC said in her nomination acceptance speech, "When there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit."
- Kristen Scatton