The current race for the presidential nomination in the Democratic party pits two individual who are “firsts.”  Obama is the first African-American to run for president, and Hillary Clinton is the first woman to run for president.  But, it appears that sexism has certainly reared its ugly head. 

In Salem, New Hampshire, as Hillary Clinton was about to deliver a statement, a man stood up and yelled “Iron My Shirt.”   As he stood, he held a sign with the same wording, and repeated his command over and over.  He and another man were removed from the room so that Clinton could continue her presentation. 

It seems some males just can’t quite get over the fact that women are just as capable as men when it comes to qualities that are needed in a strong leader.  After all, the only presidential yardstick that we, as Americans, have had over the 200+ years of our existence as a country is a male yardstick.

From the doctrine of “coverture” in marriages – where the woman’s person was subsumed in the man’s persona – to the notion that women could be punished and whipped to keep them in line – a notion that was sanctioned by state courts – women have been relegated to an unequal status.

Although the 26th Amendment, ratified on July 1, 1971, lowered the voting age to 18, the last group to obtain the right to vote was women.  Through the years, women have been excluded from juries, from corporate offices, from equal pay opportunities, and from professions based on the idea that women were weak and incapable of assuming responsibilty and leadership roles – their place was to tend home and hearth.

While I have over the past few months donated a small amount to the John Edwards’ campaign, I have a certain amount of sympathy for Hillary Clinton.  If she gets tired and shows emotion, watchers call her weak.  If she shows little or no emotion, watchers call her cold.  If she is strong and aggressive, watchers call her a b….  As the first woman to run for president, she is in an enviable yet unenviable position. 

But no matter what position she finds herself in, she is the first of our gender to step forward and take the slings and arrows that go with a presidential campaign.  She is the first, but if she does not win the nomination or presidency, I am certain she will not be the last.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Democrats, Politics, Women in Politics, Women's Interests. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Samantha says:

    I do agree with your blog, but I think I should point out that Hilary Clinton is not the first woman to run for the Presidency. The first woman to run for president was Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of ME in 1964. She was running to get on the Republican nomination and the first to ever have her name on the ballot. She received 83,000 votes from 6 states and 22 delegate votes from 4 states.

    I believe that there have been at least 17 other women who also ran for the Presidency since 1964. It is a shame that history does not remember these women for the advances that helped Clinton get to where she is today.

  2. Samantha says:

    I realize that after I posted my comment, I did not go in to depth with how I agree with your post. :p.

    There are unfair stereotypes that Clinton is having to push past, but I think that she is handling them as well as anyone could expect or hope. I can imagine it is not easy for her to get the voters to forget the past and focus on her goals and ambitions, and not her husbands history. I do think she has a difficult road ahead of her, but her persistence will ultimately be good for the country, not matter the result of the election.

  3. Thanks for correcting my information. I was so into the election coverage last night that I didn’t do any research to check my statements. I am normally very careful about having facts to back up my statements.

    At the time I was writing the post, I could only think of Geraldine Ferraro who was a vice-presidential candidate.

    I will definitely be more careful in the future. 🙂

  4. Phil Marx says:

    In 1988, Lenora Fulani became the first woman and the first African American to achieve ballot access (New Alliance Party) in all fifty states. She also received the most ever votes for a woman for President in a U.S. general election.

  5. Phil Marx says:


    Thanks for the link. That was a very interesting story. Sometimes I wonder how it is that people such as David Duke are still remembered in the media and popular culture, but people such as Victoria Woodhull and Leonora Fulani are bareley acknowledged or remebered.

Comments are closed.