Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Most Hardcore Woman of Them All?
By Marcy Driehaus
When it came time to choose which influential woman to kick off this segment with, let’s just say the decision wasn’t exactly a difficult one. The question isn’t, “What has Hillary Clinton done for women?”, but rather “What hasn’t Hillary Clinton done for women?”
The world had another thing coming the day Hillary Rodham Clinton was born back in 1947. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if she made her life debut wearing a stylish pantsuit rather than the standard birthday suit that was popular among her infant peers. Hillary, interestingly enough, had a somewhat conservative upbringing. Fast forward to 1964, a young Hillary even volunteered for republican Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. Her interest in politics led her straight to Wellesley College where she graduated in the top five percent of her class with a degree in political science in 1969. But her journey didn’t end there, oh no. It had only just begun.
Hillary went on to attend Yale Law School where she met her future husband, Bill. Hillary graduated from Yale (with Honors) in 1973 and things really took off from there. One thing led to another and she ended up along for the ride as Bill embarked upon his political career after the two got hitched in 1975. It had only been 18 years and badda bing, badda boom, Hillary Clinton earns the title of First Lady of the United States. From that point forward, Hillary’s impact only became more and more prominent.
Not even an entire week had passed since she was named First Lady before Hillary was given the responsibility of being in charge of the President’s Task Force on Health Care Reform. Being the impressive lawyer that she is, Hillary’s position was to oversee research, financial reports, and public service leaders when it came to the healthcare reform. Hillary also kept herself busy by leading the Foster Care Independence bill. This bill’s primary focus was on older, unadopted children’s transition into adulthood. In accordance to this bill, Hillary additionally orchestrated a number of White House conferences that correlated to children’s health and encompassed issues such as early childhood development and violence within the school system. Hillary’s passion for aiding children and improving the education system is noteworthy in itself, but it’s her blatant women’s rights championing that helped her make such a name for herself.
Hillary’s activism became commonplace as the years progressed. Notable examples of her advocacy include her presence at The Fourth World Conference of Women that took place in China in 1995. In this conference she was quoted saying, “It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights”. If that doesn’t make you want to pump your fists and cheer something along the lines of, “You go, girl!” then I don’t know what will.
Short thereafter in 2000, Hillary was elected to the United States Senate in New York, which brings us to her first milestone. Hillary’s new position deemed her the first FLOTUS ever to be elected to public office. Pretty cool, huh? There was no way she was going to stand around and watch her husband control the nation without having a say in how things were run. Hillary served as a member of senate from 2000-2009, but somewhere along the way she made a little history once again when she ran for the democratic presidential nomination in 2007. Though she ultimately ended up losing the nomination to fellow democrat, Barack Obama, Hillary certainly didn’t go down without a fight. She managed to come out on top in both Texas and Ohio in the primaries, making her popularity evident despite the outcome.
Though Hillary wasn’t able to capture the presidency that time around, it certainly didn’t keep her out of President Obama’s Administration. After being appointed as Secretary of State in January of 2009, Hillary continued to make a case for women all over the world. While speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in March of 2013, Hillary made it a point to address a wide range of women’s needs. This speech, although, wasn’t a unique circumstance. According to columnist Madeleine Bunting, Hillary acknowledged women 450 times in the speeches she gave over the first five months she served as Secretary of State. Hillary instilled the importance of women in the nation’s advancement when she was quoted saying, “Women are key to the success of the Obama administration’s major development and economic-growth initiatives”. You tell ‘em, Hill!
It’s no shock that Hillary was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame back in 2005, but even with accolades such as this, being named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, and being labeled 13th Most Powerful Person on the Planet according to Newsweek’s issue of “Global Elite”, she still endures heaps of ridicule from all sorts of people. Words such as “cold hearted” and “power hungry” are constantly being hurled in her direction. Whether these words are being used as a defense mechanism from men who are threatened by her power and success, or simply just as daggers to be thrown around by those who don’t like her politics, Hillary doesn’t let them stand in the way of her goals. Often in today’s culture, if a woman in politics is strong and confident in what she believes, and goes to great lengths to achieve something, she is torn apart by society. Hillary has been in the line of fire for years, essentially having her ability to stand her ground and fight for what is right mistaken for her being “heartless”. If a man in politics gets passionate and angry about something and fights for what he believes in, he’s the boss. If a woman does the same thing, she’s barbarous. This twisted system, however, never set Hillary back. Rather, it made her more intent on pushing through the criticism and proving everyone wrong.
Hillary has set an example for women everywhere. In her lifetime, she’s made it a priority for women’s voices to be heard. She has and will continue to make strides towards efforts of equality and peace throughout the world. Having such strong-willed female figures in political power is essential for the unity and stability of our nation. As Hillary herself once said, “There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country”. Well said, Hill. Whether you love her or hate or, Hillary Clinton has indisputably made a difference in our world and it’s a safe bet she won’t cease in doing so anytime soon. For now, the world waits with bated breath to see what she’ll conquer next.