Men don’t just stand up for themselves, but they also stand up for their friends. And they do it consistently, vigorously, vociferously and openly. While in many female groups on the other hand, women often lack that open support from their peers. This does not only happen in social circumstances, but also at work and now in politics. And this happened to Hillary Clinton.
The bottom line is that we did not shout ourselves hoarse of our support for Hillary Clinton. #iamwithher was not enough. But some of this is her campaign’s strategic fault too. There was a moment in the campaign, when answering to Trump’s quote about her being a woman, she said "If fighting for women is playing the #WomanCard, well... Deal me in." Still, Clinton did not embrace her gender and make it a high point of her campaign and that was a costly mistake. Over her three decades in public life, Clinton has struggled to balance the right tone in addressing her gender and how it has shaped her career and her life. I get that; it was extremely difficult to be in politics and be a woman when she started her career, but 2016 was the right moment to play that card.
According to polls cited by CNN, “Clinton underperformed Barack Obama among women. Turnout among women was 1 point higher than in 2012, but Clinton only got the support of 54% of women -- compared to Obama's 55%.” Why did she not resonate with women?
I have been a member of the not-so-secret Facebook group “Pantsuit Nation” for a little while now. Why was this group (or something similar) not created a year ago? Why was this a big secret? Why are we women, not as comfortable as men in openly expressing our opinions and affecting our public discourse?
I am saying this because I have been blown away and in awe of the posts from hundreds of thousands of regular women (and men) from all over the country talking about why they support her in the Facebook group Pantsuit Nation. Whether it is the picture of the octogenarian great grandmother in tears, getting to vote for her first women for President or the young soldier who thinks that Hillary is the best choice for her as Commander in Chief and would be proud to serve under her. If this message and many others could have been shared all over the country for the past year and a half, it would have inspired thousands of women and Hillary Clinton probably would be our President-Elect. It was our chance to tell our story and we squandered it.
Let this be a very costly lesson for us women. I am not suggesting that the women who do not support Hillary Clinton because of her policies should do so, simply because she is a woman. But that the women who DID support her for the right reason, because she was eminently qualified for the job, had the right temperament and policies, should have been louder and bolder in expressing their opinion and support. We should have made our voices heard more clearly and stated our reasons for our support. We should have shared our stories and influenced the narrative. Let us start our amplification now, so that this does not happen again. Let us be loud and clear in our opinions and why we have them, in all walks of our life. Let us make our voice matter. We are #StrongerTogether .