Photo Credit: Carly Fiorina/Getty
The 2016 presidential election is set to be a historic win on many fronts, but not just for the reasons you think. Sure, if Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton or Republican Carly Fiorina wins the presidential seat, history will be made with a woman finally taking on the Oval Office. Not only that, we could have our very first "First Gentleman" with former President Bill Clinton! But even if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic primaries, which is a high possibility, she will become the first woman ever to be nominated to represent a major political party.
So far, this election season is a lesson in how far America has come in terms of how we view the relationship between gender and leadership. In 2008, many deemed the media's unflattering characterization of Hillary Clinton as an unlikable and cold candidate (as well as all those comments about her clothing and hair) as age-old sexism playing out on a national stage.
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Fast forward to the 2016 election and more factors have come into play. Arguably more scandal surrounds Clinton this time around. Some say that Clinton seems untrustworthy and calculating, not because she's a woman but because of events like the email scandal while she was secretary of state. Still, will women vote for Clinton because she's a woman? Will men be swayed against voting for her because of that same reason? What role would prospective First Gentleman Bill Clinton have in the presidency?
This time around, Hillary Clinton is making a war against sexism part of her campaign strategy. After all, she has called herself the "ultimate outsider," which is a fair enough as no woman has ever been elected as president of the United States (though several women have also run). Part of this strategy includes championing expanded child care and issues like family leave, which are now being viewed less as women's issues and more as family issues. Will this be enough to clinch the presidency? Perhaps, if you look at the success of President Obama, another candidate who has championed women's rights. In the 2012 election, President Obama won the women's vote 55 percent to Mitt Romney's 44 percent, an overwhelming 11-point gender margin that is the largest since the 2000 election.
The 2016 election is already showing how America's perspective on women in leadership has amended over time, but we shall soon see how drastically it will change the history books.