Glass Ceiling Still Unbreakable

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren
Last week, Yes! Weekly paid tribute to “Wonder Women of the Triad”, of which there are many. In fact, our area is not only replete with female leaders of various businesses and organizations, but we also have a pretty good track record of electing women to public office. Greensboro has a female mayor, and several Triad counties regularly vote for women to represent them in the state legislature. We keep returning Virginia Foxx to Congress and, this fall, it’s likely we’ll send Kathy Manning to join her. Up until six years ago, Triad voters helped to elect back-to-back female United States senators, and in 2016, the Triad voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. But surrounding counties and the rest of our state went for Trump, and that brings me to last week’s press conference by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, in which she suspended her campaign for president.

A few short months ago, Warren was considered a favorite for snagging the Democratic nomination. A few months prior to that, California Senator Kamala Harris enjoyed that same status, and for a while, the Democratic field included six women. And yet, just days after Super Tuesday (or as Joe Biden called it, “Super Thursday”), the Democratic party is left with two old white men, one of whom will face off against another old white man this fall.

Those of us in Guilford and Forsyth counties can feel proud that we keep an open mind when it comes to gender politics, but what the hell is wrong with the rest of our state? After all, women in North Carolina outnumber men by 4.8 million to 4.6 million, and 51% of voters are women. Meanwhile, North Carolina now ranks 7th in the nation for number of businesses owned by women. Yet, political pundits blame sexism for why we never elect a woman president. My wife Pam says it’s not about sexist men, but rather, women who are prejudiced against their own gender. “Most women won’t vote for a woman,” she said. Perhaps that’s why Bernie Sanders is right when he allegedly told Warren that, “A woman cannot get elected president.”

Now, apparently, there is proof that Pam and Bernie are correct, because last week the United Nations released a global study that said 90% of women hold some form of bias against other women. Referred to as the Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI), the UN report found that over 50% of women believe that men make better political leaders. Pedro Conceicao, who heads up the UN’s Human Development office, told CNN, “…Gender gaps are obvious, particularly those that challenge power relations.”

Perhaps if Bernie can moderate his views and exude some modicum of warmth, or if Uncle Joe can get through the next few months without misidentifying the days of the week, then one of them will be the Democratic nominee, and he will defeat Trump this fall. If that happens, we’ll most assuredly have a female vice president who will stand a good chance of occupying the Oval Office four years from now. If so, then Elizabeth Warren will be vindicated in the pinky promise she made to thousands of daughters across the country. “I’m running for president,” she would tell them, “because that’s what girls do.” Maybe so, but only if those girls vote for other girls.


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