18 Million ScratchesJune 09, 2008
Having just spent several days being inspired by the entire 2008 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), it certainly was hard to watch what potentially could have been the first woman number one leader in the land gracefully suspend her campaign on Saturday night. After her speech, one of the strongest images Hillary Clinton left me with was a picture of 18 million “scratches” on that old glass ceiling.
Was it continuing prejudice against having a woman in the White House that led to Clinton’s loss in the end? Was it that Obama ran a smarter campaign? Different news accounts certainly defend each explanation just as strongly. Was it a combination of the two, with added ingredients from behind the scenes that we will never know? Probably.
Of course, now everyone is waiting to see where those 18 million supporters of Clinton will go. Will they stay true to party lines? Will they perceive McCain in a different light? Will Obama attempt to capture them right from the get-go by asking Clinton to be number two? Imagine the history there, an African American and a woman on the same slate.
At the NCCWSL Women of Distinction awards ceremony, I heard many stories of women overcoming discrimination directed at them for no other reason than that they were women. Many of the young students were shocked at what these women had to face — and some of them not so long ago. I keep thinking about those 18 million scratches on a glass ceiling poised to crack. AAUW has been scratching for equity since 1881 … guess we’ll keep at it.