As a young professional woman in the early 70s, it was difficult to find women leaders at the national and international levels, During that time, I came across a poster with a picture of Golda Meir who had been elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969. She was holding her purse on her lap, and she looked kind and grandmotherly. What was most remarkable about the poster was the caption which read, “But can she type?” Perhaps one had to be a feminist to understand the significance of that statement at that particular time in our history. While on the surface, it appeared humorous, it was actually put out by the National Organization of Women. It highlighted the incongruity between a powerful woman and our own country’s lagging understanding about what women are qualified to do.
It has taken decades for women in the United States to even come close to the height of elected leadership achieved by Golda Meir or by women in other countries such as India (Indira Gandhi), Great Britain (Margaret Thatcher), and Germany (Angela Merkel). We have watched several American women try—Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, and Carol Moseley Braun come to mind. As Presidential contenders, they made progress in cracking that seemingly impenetrable glass ceiling, and they have been excellent role models for many other women in the political realm. Yet every time a woman gets close to the highest office in the country, skeptics quickly question her ability to do such a big and important job. Well, no need to question that any longer.
This year we have a woman candidate for President who comes with a remarkable resume, great accomplishments, and outstanding experience. A graduate of Yale Law School, she is known for her work for human rights and for her relentless efforts to better the lives of women and families both here and abroad. She has been elected a US Senator and has been appointed and confirmed as the Secretary of State. She is recognized and respected around the world. Even our sitting President, Barack Obama, when asked about her candidacy, recently stated, “I don’t think there has ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”
Without question, then, it sounds like Hillary Clinton should be a shoo-in. But just in case someone still asks if can she type, the answer is that absolutely no one cares whether she can type. What we care about is that she can be President.