Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Defeat – Inspiring Women Everywhere

Immediately following the presidential election, I felt compelled to run for office, and I don’t think that I am necessarily alone in feeling that way. In fact, ever since the outcome of the election, we have seen a spike in interest from women who are considering running for elected office.

A significant portion of this sudden interest in politics is attributed to Clinton’s loss.

In her concession speech, Clinton stated,

“[Women] never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

She spoke with great conviction, and her words were encouraging to women everywhere. As a woman myself, I found Clinton’s words to be inspiring as most women listening to her speech that day. Though, I want to emphasize that these were not just words of hope; they were a call to action. I, and the many women watching her speech understood at that very moment that the time has come to stop mourning and start acting.

The female population did, in fact, proceed to act, and this action would go beyond just protesting and signing petitions.

Governor Nikki Haley (R) is a case in point. Following Clinton’s defeat, Haley ran for office and ironically enough was picked for Donald Trump’s UN Ambassador. She later admitted that Hillary Clinton was the reason she was initially inspired to run.

This is not an isolated incident;  we have since seen many other women follow in the same footsteps.

Following the election, graduate student Aurea Bolanos Perea decided to run for a local position in the San Diego region upon graduating from California State University, ultimately wanting to run for office at the federal level. Pera, like Haley, felt the need to run for office under Trump’s presidency to help protect the rights of women and other minority groups in this country.

Other women such as Mia Hernandez of San Jose told Huffington post that she is working towards securing a seat in the San Jose City Council because she wants to ensure that Trump’s voice does not overpower those of the people, specifically minority groups.

For many, Trump’s victory signifies more than just a win for the Republican party. For Trump supporters, it may also mean white supremacy’s last stand in America.

This became very evident when a series of hate crimes against minority women set off across the country, many targeting Muslim women. Within hours of Trump’s victory, we saw a surge in Islamophobia, which led to Muslim women taking to Twitter to express their fear of being attacked for wearing a hijab outside of their homes. One woman stated on her Twitter that a white male called out anti-Muslim sentiments and pulled a knife on her while sitting on a bus.

However, these attacks are not limited to Muslim women, as one Black woman tweeted how a group of Caucasian males approached her at a gas station and threatened to kill her by yelling,

“you’re lucky there’s no witnesses or else I’d shoot you right here.”

These examples showcase a reverse trend in women’s rights under Trump’s Presidency, which is alarming, to say the least.

These instances left many people, including myself, wanting to know just how this violent behavior is tolerated, let alone how it persists. When you have a President-elect that is demeaning towards women and labels Mexican immigrants as rapists, it comes as less of a surprise.

In a severely divided nation, like our own, we see many individuals resorting to violence as a means of expressing their differences. This hostility towards minority women compromises their safety and provokes anxiety, causing them to change their customs, i.e. wearing a hijab. This election generates many uncertainties; thus we must take responsibility for ensuring these women’s safety and securing their rights.

Having said all of this, we need more women like Clinton, who are advocates for those whose rights are threatened under Trump’s presidency to be in office. It is crucial, now more than ever, to bring women into positions of power who will help protect vulnerable groups, like minority women, and can reassure their safety for what’s to come.

I believe that in giving her concession speech, Clinton was asking women to come together and fight for a country that is better than this.

As stated in her speech,

“This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

Moreover, we must remember how women, like Pera underscore that taking over local government positions are not small wins, for they create the applicant pools from which senators, members of Congress, and presidents are born.

Let us continue to fight and pick up where Clinton left off!

References

Day 1 in Trump’s America. Twitter. 2016.
Hillary Clinton’s concession speech (full text). CNN. 2016.
More Than Likeable Enough. Digital Image. Slate. 23 December 2015. Web. 13 December 2016.

Photo Credit: torbakhopper Flickr via Compfight cc

Angelica Rusilowski

Angelica is an MPH candidate at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. She is passionate about health-related gender inequalities and their impact on reproductive health. When she is not advocating for women's rights, she looks to art as a healthy medium to alleviate her frustrations with the world and break away from the endless hours of studying. If she is not glued to her canvas or reading assignments, you can find her at one of the local East Village cafes with her favorite Vonnegut novel in hand or kayaking through the Scandinavian fjords.

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