At this point, everything seems to point to Hilary Clinton throwing her hat into the ring for the 2016 Presidential Election. And if she runs, most pundits and others seem to think the Democratic nomination will be almost guaranteed for her.
There seems to be an unofficial consensus that it is Clinton's turn to lead the party. After the nomination and elections twice of the country’s first African-American President (as he is referred as, despite the fact that he is actually of mixed parentage) many feel it is time for another barrier to fall.
The question that has to be at the root of this impetus is “Is America ready for a female President?” You would think that once the racial wall fell that the gender wall would prove much easier to surmount. But as obvious as that seems, I wouldn’t be so sure. I think back to Shirley Chisholm, the former Democratic Congresswoman from New York who served seven terms in the House, and in 1972 became the first major party black candidate for President. She actually received 152 first-ballot votes at the Democratic Convention that year. Chisholm famously said that the greatest barrier she faced in her run wasn’t that she was black, but that she was a woman.
But this isn’t 1972. Surely times have changed. In many ways, yes they have. But gender bias is still deeply entrenched in American society. In the workforce, women still make less than men for the same job. US News published a story recently on a study that showed gender bias clearly exists even with scientists. They reported:
“...research from Yale that had scientists presented with application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position and who intended to go on to graduate school. Half the scientists were given the application with a male name attached, and half were given the exact same application with a female name attached. Results found that the “female” applicants were rated significantly lower than the “males” in competence, hireability, and whether the scientist would be willing to mentor the student...”
But with all that being said, I do believe Hilary Clinton, or some other popular woman candidate, like U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who is extremely popular in the party, could win the White House. Not because prejudice against women doesn’t exist but because the Republican Party is in such shambles and is likely to remain so by 2016.
So the same way America elected Obama despite the continued existence of racism, I believe a woman will indeed win the Presidential election next time around despite the reality of gender bias. Of course there are many men and even women who will let stereotypes cloud their feelings about a woman running this country. But it won’t matter. The combination of the feeling that it is indeed time for that gender barrier to fall and the incompetency of the opposition will pave the way for Clinton or Warren to move on in to the big house. The time is indeed right.