Marcy Twete

On the Road to Parity: Why I’m With Her

Historic events are often lost on children. They don’t understand the gravity of the events happening around them, which ones are every day occurrences and which will enter history books. We’ve all lived through historic moments as children, and only later realized how much impact they had on us individually and on the world. Hearing of Janet Reno’s passing this morning, I experienced my own realization about the historic nature of her term as Attorney General.

Can you name the Attorney General today? Sure, we’re educated people. We should know Loretta Lynch. But many Americans wouldn’t. That’s just the nature of many cabinet-level positions in our government. But in 1993, every American knew the names Janet Reno and Madeleine Albright. Why? Because they were the first. It’s strange to think about now. Only 23 years ago, there had never been a female Attorney General or Secretary of State. Because that’s how change happens. Slowly at first, then all of a sudden, until you look back and can’t remember when things were any different than they are now.

The photo below is of President Bill Clinton’s cabinet. It was lost on many of us, myself included, at the time. The composition of this cabinet was historic. Today, we take for granted that a woman could be a member of the cabinet. Look at the history in the chart included below from the Center for American Woman and Politics’ study on women appointed to Presidential cabinets. The percentages speak for themselves.

Throughout this campaign, countless people have asked me why I’ve been a die-hard supporter of Hillary Clinton. There are so many reasons, but here’s the one that matters today. I want the next generation to take for granted that a woman can be President. I want it to not even be a thought in their head. Of course a woman could be President, of course a woman has an equal shot at the job, of course our cabinet positions are open to woman, and of course we want equality. What if we could live in a world where the equal rights of women was an issue that was so ingrained in our country’s DNA, it was simply lost on the children who see women in power?

Finally, look at the chart above. Really look at it. In President Bill Clinton’s second term, the percentage of women at maximum level in his cabinet reached 41%. Today, under President Obama, it’s 35%. But in between, it backslid for too long. I don’t want to live in a country where only 19% of cabinet positions are filled by women. I want to see this chart next year under President Hillary Clinton and be proud to see parity in our highest levels of government for the first time in history. That’s why #ImWithHer.

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