With the arrival of 2019, many of us will make New Year’s resolutions and will begin the year with hopes, dreams and wishes. My wish for 2019? For women to stand up for each other – not tear each other down.
In the United States, women are the majority of the population. Currently, the male population is about 163 million – or 49.4 percent of the country. The female population is just over 167 million – or 50.6 percent.
Yet despite our being in the majority, we don’t hold anywhere near our share of political offices. In 2018, women made up just 23 percent of the U.S. Senate and 20 percent of the House. Those numbers rose slightly in the November midterm elections and will amount to 23 percent in the Senate and 24 percent in the House in 2019.
Things are much worse in the corporate world. There were only 24 women on the list of corporate CEOs of Fortune 500 companies for 2018 – just 5 percent. The number was down from 32 female CEOs in 2017.
Why do you think that is? I’ll tell you. Women don’t support each other like men do.
Just look at politics. Women didn’t even get the right to vote until the Constitution was amended in 1920. And then it wasn’t until 2016 when a major political party nominated a woman – Democrat Hillary Clinton – for president.
In an interview with the New York Times, Clinton spoke about how misogyny is used as a tool to hold women back.
But it’s not only the men doing this. In my opinion, women can be women’s worst enemy or obstacle. It is also why I believe we have never had a female president in the United States. We just don’t support each other in the numbers that we could.
In the 2016 presidential election, turnout was lower than it was in 2008 or 2012, when there was no female at the top of either party’s ticket. Even President Trump tweeted about the Women’s March participants: “Why didn’t these people vote?” Good question
We need to support each other, have each other’s backs and then I believe in the future we will have equal pay, equal treatment, equal representation in politics and more seats at the table of CEOs
History suggests that the biggest obstacle to a woman being elected president it that she is not a man.
But it goes farther than our gender. It is how we women treat each other. Let’s just look at our treatment of very powerful political women.
In the 1990’s, Hillary Clinton was attacked for not having “stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,” choosing to pursue a career instead. She was attacked while first lady of Arkansas for not using her husband’s last name, but then eventually switched from Hillary Rodham to Hillary Clinton.
When then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the vice presidential running mate of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain in 2008 – the same year Clinton sought the Democratic presidential nomination in a contest with then-Sen. Barack Obama – frequent comments were made about “Mrs. Clinton is pantsuits; Ms. Palin is skirts."
In 2011 there was a near-obsession with whether or not House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. D-Calif., had undergone plastic surgery
And when Hillary Clinton was running for president against Donald Trump, former New York City Mayor and current Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani spoke at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort and said: “Hillary was also here …. And she actually fit through the door.”
There were gasps and looks, but there was also laughter – and it wasn’t just the men who were chuckling.
Recently, former first lady Michelle Obama said during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” that as she left the White House after Trump’s inauguration, she thought “Bye, Felicia!” That was a comment that many felt she was using as a way to smugly dismiss incoming first lady Melania Trump.
When Christine Blasey Ford accused then-Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, a majority of women believed her – but 77 percent of Republican women did not.
And it’s not just women who might not like or oppose another woman because they’re of a different political mindset.
Just recently, outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said of incoming House Democratic freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an interview: "I'm a little confused why she's the thing."
I too have been the victim of attacks. Comments directed against me include: “Shut your mouth unless you’re going to put another scoop of Haagen Dazs in it, fattie.” “Why don’t you stick a missile where the sun don’t shine and move to Iraq?” “You’re too old to wear your hair like that.”
The list goes on and sadly, the attacks didn’t come from men. They came from women.
This is nothing new. Even Psychology Today published an article headlined: “Why ARE some Women Nasty to Other Women?”
Now I know some of you are thinking: things are changing; just look at the #MeToo movement or the fact that in the last midterm election, a record number of women ran, were nominated and won seats in Congress.
That’s true and that’s encouraging, but it doesn’t go far enough.
And I won’t go as far as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who said that “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.”
But I will say that we need to stop judging each other’s appearance, stop being obstacles to each other’s successes. We need to support each other, have each other’s backs and then I believe in the future we will have equal pay, equal treatment, equal representation in politics and more seats at the table of CEOs
It’s simple, ladies. If we are to hold up “half the sky” then we need to truly hold one another up. And that is my New Year’s wish for our gender. Happy 2019!