First female major party presidential candidate comes long overdue

Delaney Mayfield

Hillary Clinton has shattered political norms by recently securing the presidential nomination within the Democratic party. She is the first woman in history to receive a nomination from a major party. Hillary must overcome hurdles before even getting to the White House and it is still unclear whether she can do it. Why has it taken so long for this nomination to be held by a woman?

America presents itself as a nation centered around equality, but its political history disproves this idea. Women in politics are not given equal consideration due to an air of gender bias by voters.

Women have been leaders in countries deemed “less progressive” than our own. Everywhere, from Liberia to Argentina to Germany there are female leaders in place. India had their first female leader in 1966. Israel had their first female leader in 1969.

Only three women have held the position as Head of State in the 227-year span that is has been around. Madeleine Albright was the first woman to hold this position in 1997, 77 years after the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Hillary herself served as Secretary of State, the chief American diplomat, for four years and experienced tremendous success while holding the office. Her approval rating hovered around 60 percent throughout her time as Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton’s approval rating dropped by 10 percent after the Benghazi attacks fell on her shoulders. However, in 1998 her husband was in the midst of a sex scandal and was facing impeachment charges and his approval rating went up by nine percent. He was the president with far more responsibility and received extra support during one of the biggest presidential scandals in history.

A 2007 Gallup poll showed that 88 percent of Americans would vote for a woman if their party nominated one. However, Clinton’s approval ratings typically drop by 10 points in the May before the elections. The willingness to vote for a women and actually doing so don’t add up.

Former Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann has received approval ratings of 38 percent on average. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi’s ratings average 31 percent. However, their male counterparts, House majority leader Kevin McCarthy and House speaker Paul Ryan, have average approval ratings of 50 percent and 72 percent. There has been good and bad press about all four of these politicians, but there seems to be no evidence to justify Pelosi and Bachman’s drastically lower ratings.

Bias against female politicians is not a something that people have deemed ill-behaved.  During a taping of the O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly asked his guest, author Marc Rudov, “ What is the downside of having a woman become the president  of the United States?”Rudov's responded, "You mean besides the PMS and the mood swings, right?" Rudov found this disrespectful statement appropriate to say on live television.

This is gender bias at its finest and Hilary has just only received the nomination.

This is a milestone in history no matter the outcome of the November election, but voters should make efforts to discard their gender bias and make voting decisions based on platforms.

Mayfield is an MIS junior from Tyler.