A columnist for the Coeur d'Alene Press authored a bitter and scathing column on Sunday entitled Sexism is alive and well in America . I couldn't disagree with her more. Two political candidates, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, lost their bids for the highest and second highest office in the land. One had insurmountable baggage, some of her own making, some of her husband's. The other was ill prepared for the position she willingly entered into.
It's easy to say race triumphed over gender and to blame the media but neither is true. Hillary may well have persevered had she had not had that baggage and had she had control of her campaign. Sarah Palin too could have persevered had she known her geography, known what periodicals she supposedly read and hadn't tried to be too cute by half. Listen to the interviews where she was overly familiar especially with "Charlie" Gibson and "Joe" Biden in the debate. Not to mention the lack of substance in all her interviews.
Yes the press picked up on every bit of news it could find about her. That it called into question her parenting skills or talked of her once being a beauty queen or that the campaign spent a small fortune to dress her is all true. It was part of letting the voters know what a total stranger who sought to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency was all about. That she was ridiculed on comedy shows? No one made her appear on "Saturday Night Live". If she hadn't anticipated the "heat" it is no one's fault but her own.
I'm not saying she is not a capable young woman. She obviously has potential, but for the moment that's what it is - potential.
To use those two incidents, however, to assert that sexism is alive and well is an insult to all the women who are high level achievers outside the realm of politics. Take the women written about in yesterday's Wall Street Journal article entitled The 50 Women to Watch - 2008 . Excluding women from other countries, here are a few of our own. Irene Rosenfeld, Chief Executive, Kraft foods; Sheila Bair, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive, Pepsico; Ellen J. Kullman, President and designated Chief Executive, Dupont; Anne M. Mulcahy, Chairman and Chief Executive, Xerox; Ursula M. Burns, President, Xerox; Patricia Woertz, Chief Executive Officer, Archer-Midland Daniels...and so many more.
Sorry, but Hillary's "Sisterhood of the Travelling Pantsuit" is alive and well. The glass ceiling has been shattered again and again by hard work, tenacity, and ability. The revolution continues. Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House. How many women serve in Congress and as Governors?
Sexism or the lack of it should not be judged by the failure of the overly ambitious but rather by the accomplishments of the many truly capable.