By Angelle B. Kwemo*
Last Friday, history was made. The first female nominee of a major party gracefully accepted her nomination. Hillary Clinton is a symbol of the progressive revolution taking place in America. Americans have finally begun to accept that women can lead this great nation just as well as men can.
President Obama and Bill Clinton both asserted that she is more capable than them to take the presidential seat and her long list of accomplishments stand as testament. Her determination, wit, and willingness to compromise pushed her to excel in her many political positions and they will ensure her success as the next president of the United States. After all, what person can sit through an 11 hour long hearing, in which his/her character is torn apart, without flinching?
Her competence and intelligence can be witnessed even before the presidential election. She graciously offered to work alongside Bernie Sanders to formulate the most progressive agenda that the United States has seen. This move is her way to bring the party together and that is true leadership. In a similar fashion, we can count on Hillary Clinton to reach across the aisle and bridge the gap between the country’s two political parties.
Is cooperation foundational to womanhood? Her actions indicate that it is. Is cooperation an essential trait to leadership? It most definitely is, to ensure that the country progresses. Hillary Clinton stands as an example to the nation of the abilities and fresh perspective that female leadership can provide. By breaking the ultimate glass ceiling, she sets precedence for her fellow sisters throughout America.
Women should not be treated as a special interest group as they compromise 50% of the population. Women should have an equal say in how we are governed. The right to vote is not the end of the battle. Adequate representation in government is the pinnacle of equality and after 44 presidents it is time that we have someone to represent the other 50% of the population.
Many nations that are often presented as “third-world” and lacking in gender equality have seen it fit to elect a female leader that fights for equal opportunity for all. The one continent which has faced extreme criticism from the Western world for its gender inequality has taught the West tremendously about female empowerment. Africa has chosen to elect four women presidents and appointed prime ministers to lead their respective nations to success.
These “patriarchal” societies have had no qualms about taking that initiative and it has shown with the exponential growth of all socioeconomic aspects of African life. President Joyce Hilda Banda of Malawi, President Agnes Monique Ohsan Bellepeau of Mauritius, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, as chairperson of the African Union Commission, all represent the great strides that the continent has taken in recognizing the value and leadership skills of women. It is time that we learn something from Africa.
We need to stand beside, support, and inspire each other in the sisterhood. As professional women, we can relate to her struggle to defy the odds. If women do not speak up for one another, then who will? Of course, Hillary Clinton’s status as a female is a major out of many reasons why women will vote for her because it is guaranteed that she will fight for women’s rights. Hillary Clinton is the only one in this presidential race that can ensure that women’s rights are human rights as she did relentlessly in the past. More importantly she is equipped, prepared and skilled to lead America to a yet greater future. Competence has no gender, no race and no religion my friends.
Believe in Africa (BIA) is an African diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S., to empower young Africans, promote the role of the African private sector, harness the power of the African diaspora, educate policy makers and the public about African economic growth and highlight the continent’s gradual rise in the global community.