Nvate Commentary: What’s next? Madame President?

Zoha Syed

July 4, 2014, will mark the 238th birthday of the United States. That’s more than 200 years of triumphs, tribulations, and noteworthy events that make up the diverse history of the country. That’s also two centuries worth of 44 presidents—mister presidents to be exact. But this male-domination over “President of the United States of America” may be about to change.

Nvate Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential election female president

Credit: freeidigitalphotos.net vitasamb2001

The issue of “sexism” has been prevalent in the United States since before the dawn of the women’s suffrage movement—a period of history that brought the issue of women’s rights to the forefront. But nowhere has the gender gap been so well-defined than in the political landscape. As reported by the WCF foundation, in 2010 only 17 percent of the seats in Congress were held by women and 50 percent less women than men even considered running for office.

As the 2016 election year draws closer and closer, rumors have been rampant about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to run. With this I believe an issue that is often swept under the rug is once again returning to the national spotlight. A woman presiding over a major political office would make a significant statement on a national and international scale. Thus the election of a female president is long overdue.

The typical archetype that has often been attached to women revolves around the home, with motifs of domestication such as marriage and children often being synonymous with the role of a girl. Images of damsels in distress waiting to be rescued by a male savior or perfectly prim Barbie dolls were the “role models” that were once set forth for girls.

But as time has progressed, our own societal definitions of what a women represents in society have evolved. No longer is a women simply meant to look “pretty” and perform household tasks, but instead they are becoming established fixtures in the creative and scientific disciplines. Marie Curie, a French chemist, performed ground-breaking work regarding radioactivity and became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in 1903. Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, has consistently been ranked among the world’s top 100 most powerful women by Forbes Magazine. Margaret Thatcher, the first and only woman British prime minister, was the longest serving prime minister of the 20th century.

The election of a female president in the United States would establish once and for all the role of women in current affairs. The president of the United States represents one of the most powerful leadership positions on an international scale—the appointment of a woman to this position would serve beneficial from a domestic and diplomatic standpoint.

“It will perhaps strengthen diplomatic ties with rival countries of the [United States], namely Afghanistan, where a woman might create more amicable connections between two opposing countries,” Nadia Butt, an English lecturer at the University of Geissen in Germany, said.

Women’s rights is an issue that is prevalent in many countries around the world and a female president would not only work to break those preconceptions that encapsulate some cultures, but would serve as a connecting thread. It would unify the globe in bringing attention to the adverse conditions that women often face, and would thus serve as a point of agreement among the numerous points of contention that often occupy foreign affairs.

As 2016 approaches, and the buzz about Hillary Clinton’s ultimate decision to run continues on, all we can do is wait. Only time will tell whether the next presidential race will be one where a woman is taking the podium during a presidential debate. But regardless of the outcome, it is safe to say that the presence of a woman on the presidential ballot would bring light to an issue that deserves recognition.

“[It’ll mean] that women are more strongly represented and that we can open up a discussion on gender and sex,” Tomás Narvaja, a student at the University of Washington, said. “While it will be a struggle, it will still be a big step in the right direction and I hope that she is the most empowered person I’ll ever see.”

As an 18-year-old girl, I hope so too.

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