Hillary Rodham Clinton: The patron saint of over-qualified, overlooked women


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Hillary Rodham Clinton: The patron saint of over-qualified, overlooked women

Are we really sending out the message that at our best we’re still not as good as the worst man in the room?

It’s already been said that in the wreckage of last night’s result there was a moment when every woman knew how Hillary Clinton felt. 

Maybe it’s cynicism, but despite the shock in actually realizing that this is real life and Donald Trump really is going to be president, there was a moment when we probably all thought, well honestly, why are we so surprised.

Despite what you might think of Hillary — her politics, her failings — last night’s result sent a depressingly familiar message. Because when have we ever properly rewarded dedicated, qualified, ambitious women? 

Yesterday, the polling stations may have been full of smiling women, often three generations in the same family, proud to pass on the message that if you work hard, girls, you can do whatever you want to do. But for millions of women that’s simply not true. And last night, Hillary Clinton became, albeit temporarily, the face of those women. 

The idea that she lost the election on being unlikeable, on fucking deleted emails just shows how demoralizing the workplace can still be for high-achieving women. In the US just this year, the percentage of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 dropped to four per cent. In a country of 318.9 million people, just 20 women have made it high enough up the ranks to be named CEO. 

We might have countered that last night by naming Hillary president, but we sent out an entirely different message. The millions of Americans who voted for Trump said this instead: it doesn’t matter how qualified you are. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how long you’ve worked, how ambitious you are, how much money you have, where you went to school. 

At your best you will still never be as good as the worst man in the room.

It’s true that there were good things which happened last night. Despite what it might feel like this morning, the world is not all doom and gloom. Washington elected Catherine Cortez Masto, its first ever Latina senator. Oregon elected Kate Brown, the first LGBT governor. Minnesota elected Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American lawmaker. 


These women are the silver lining, the new girls stepping up into top-tier politics. But what do we say to those women when they want a bit more? That this is where the glass ceiling stops them? 

Hillary Clinton is no angel. She wasn’t what many women wanted to see as their first female President – she’s a bit of a Theresa May in that respect. But she’s still better than Trump, and we still told her that that didn’t matter one bit.