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Tuesday

Why Working Moms Are Upset About Hillary Clinton’s Loss

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillar...
Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, Hillary Clinton spoke at a gathering in Washington, DC for the Children’s Defense Fund.  She looked weary and forlorn and she said articulated how many working moms have been feeling. She said, “There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do was just to curl up with a good book… and never leave the house again.” When I heard a clip from her speech, I decided to write one post describing why I believe her presidential loss was so hard for so many working moms, beyond the fact that our country elected an incredibly divisive candidate who spouted exclusionary statements during his campaign.
Let me be clear, I supported Hillary. I made small donations to Hillary's campaign, I voted for her, and I even worked the polls on Election Day as part of a statewide Election Protection Effort. I was assigned by the Hillary Clinton campaign, but my work was non-partisan. I worked for fourteen hours that day to protect citizens’ right to vote. I did it because it matters to me and I believe that constitutional rights should be preserved.

However, I did not support Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in the same I did for Barack Obama’s first run.
In 2008, I knocked on doors, even in sketchy neighborhoods, I made calls, I stuffed envelopes, the night before the election into the wee hours of the morning even though I would be at the polls for election protection the following day,  I was putting maps together for people working the ground game for Get Out the Vote (GOTV).

I was boiling over with excitement for Barack Obama and the possibilities his candidacy represented. And for Hillary, I was lukewarm. And my feelings can’t be reduced to some ridiculous notion that I was more loyal to my race than my gender. President Obama captured my heart in a a way she never did. Also, I had some old wounds from things the Clintons did in the 2008 campaign that weren’t quite healed. I also had some misgivings about having the exact same first family in the White House.  
That said, I voted for Hillary in the primary and did so on Election Day. She did not need to capture my heart in order to earn my vote. Hillary earned my vote because she was the most qualified candidate. And her vision of American included me and people like me. I also admired her hustle and commitment. She has never given up--not on practicing law in a discriminatory environment, not on her marriage, and not on this country. Also, whether you like her or not, she is smart, tough as nails, and had a wealth of experience for the office. I thought that the majority of the voters would have seen that and that she would have won.

On Election Night I was profoundly surprised as the results were coming in. However, I was not dismayed. I just thought the election would have been closer than I anticipated. And when I learned that Mr. Trump had won the next day, I was sick. Indeed, her loss resonated with me in a way that her candidacy never did.

Many professional women suffered a sense of a very personal loss after the election results came in.

The loss felt personal and reminded me of every time I have exceeded all of the posted requirements yet still heard, "no" and I was not alone. Corporate women in general can appreciate that promotions and advancement aren't always fair. However, female lawyers have a unique perspective. And for us, her loss stung because it felt deeply personal. 

On November 9th, I attended a conference for lawyers and some women were barely containing tears, and they were Republican and Democrat. 
As one female lawyer said, "I don't know what I am going to do now. I feel like nothing I do will ever be good enough." 
Many aspects about the practice of law, especially at law firms makes the industry one of the last bastions of White male privilege. Performance is evaluated by the billable hour and ones ability to bill hours at a partnership level is as much a function of connections as it is a function of ability. Those connections are easier to obtain if you are a part of the club. Make no mistake, the "Old Boys Network is alive and well. As of 2015, 91% of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 were White Men. Let that sink for a bit. This part of the reason, I no longer practice in a law firm. Succeeding in that environment is complicated by this dual evaluation system.   


Had Hillary won, she would have shattered the glass ceiling in this country. While it would not have eliminated gender discrimination, it would have been a beacon of hope for generations of women. For now, her candidacy and the potential of young girls like my own daughter will have to fuel our hope.



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