25 Nov | Gender Equality | Women in Leadership | Women in Politics

Why Hillary Clinton’s Loss Is Still A Gain For Women In Leadership

That shattering sound wasn’t the “highest and hardest” glass ceiling, after all. For female supporters of the Democratic Party, it was their hopes of having a female president in 2017.

Clinton seems to polarize opinion more than most. Her feminism - forged in age before many of the freedoms we now take for granted - is viewed by critics as old-fashioned. Among some Millennial women (but not as many as the media implied), she struck an ‘inauthentic’ chord. She was mistrusted and deemed too much of an urbanite and a member of the political elite.

If Trump was ‘Teflon Donald’, Clinton was the opposite - every bad judgement call or misstep stuck to her. Even after her defeat, detractors kept up with the name-calling - ‘crooked Hillary’, the ‘Hoary Hag of Benghazi’.

She built coalitions around her values, and her support of, and by, the likes of outgoing first lady Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren, demonstrate the sort of behaviour positively encouraged among leaders. It was a shame that she allowed herself to be dragged into name-calling in debates. Perhaps she could’ve heeded Michelle Obama’s advice, to ‘go high when they go low’. But I’m not sure that would’ve made a difference.

Antipathy towards her long pre-dated this, or the last, campaign, according to author Malcolm Gladwell.

Americans didn’t warm to her open shows of ambition. She didn’t fit the pre-existing idea of what a female candidate should look like. “She is being penalized for having a series of traits that people find unacceptable in a woman,” he said.

In other words, she continued to face the classic ‘double bind’ that dogs women in positions of power. In 1994, she apparently described herself to the Wall Street Journal as a “transition figure” and a “Rorschach test“ for Americans dealing with, say, a female boss they didn’t like. She’d be the target for their hostility, she said. But I wonder if she still expected to be the face on the bullseye 22 years later. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/neela-bettridge/hillary-clinton_b_12975826.html