The impact of the first female major party nominee

Much has been made of the fact that Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be the presidential nominee of a major political party in the US and if elected would be the first woman US president. This is undoubtedly an important step and I can see why so many Americans are savoring the moment. For me personally, my reaction is “What took America so long?” since Sri Lanka elected the first woman head of state back in 1960 and many, many other nations have done so since.

The Sri Lankan leader dominated politics for over two decades so for me living in a country with a female leader is not a novelty. The fact that Clinton winning the nomination is seen as overcoming such a big hurdle is really a sign of how backward the US has been in its acceptance of women as equals.

Stephen Colbert makes the same point, saying that Clinton winning would enable the US to catch up with 1960 Sri Lanka.


  1. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Canada still hasn’t elected a female Prime Minister, although we have had one.

    When douchebag Brian Mulroney stepped down as leader of the Progressive Conservatives (they hadn’t yet dropped the “progressive” part), Kim Campbell won the party’s leadership race and was PM from June 25 to November 4 of 1993.

    Mulroney didn’t even move out of 24 Sussex right away (our White House equivalent) because he was having renovations done on his home in Montreal. She moved into the PM’s summer home instead and was defeated in the next election before she ever moved into 24 Sussex. Campbell is, afaik, our only PM to have not lived there.

    So yeah, we still have a long way to go, too.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    When SL was working on a gender-diverse power structure, the US was pouring resources into the MX missile and, even earlier, the Minuteman.

    From some point in the 1950s (when certain moneys became allotted specifically for development of the minuteman), until 1986 when Peacekeeper (MX) installation was finished and Geraldine Ferraro finally appeared to retire from politics, add up to total parallel expenditures

    Side 1: All monies spent by or through the US defence establishment that were ultimately allocated to the specific benefit of counter-force missile programs (development or deployment either way).

    Side 2: All monies spent by or through the 2 major political parties that were ultimately allocated to the specific benefit of diversifying how social & political power are ultimately gendered.


    I don’t have to do much guessing to make an argument that supports choosing Side 1.

    Heck if you included side 3: the amount of money spent in SL on gender diversifying social and political power, for all its wealth, it’s unlikely the US could take the top 2 spots.

  3. says

    In 2012 I voted for Josefina Vasquez Mota. Had she won, she would’ve been the first female president of Mexico. She’s the first female candidate that I know of, actually. Unfortunately, her party pretty much left her alone, the other viable candidate (Lopez Obrador) had made a fool out of himself in the previous election and we ended up with the illiterate moron that is Peña Nieto, who’s been selling what’s left of Mexico for 4 years now.

    I might sound callous but honestly Hillary’s “historic breaking of the glass ceiling” doesn’t seem to be the big deal everyone is making it out to be. I mean, yeah, the white christian multimillionaire got what she wanted. Shocker.

    Privilege of the right kind (money/political favor) can negate, or even overwhelm, the consequences of underprivilege (female). Like, we all know that the cops won’t shoot Jaden Smith. We know that nobody is going to threaten Whoopi Goldberg’s job on the basis of her using dreadlocks. Caitlyn Jenner can be a republican knowing that she will not receive the kind of abuse republicans often advocate for the plebeian trans people. I could go on…

    One might think that further demonstration of this basic fact of life wasn’t really that necessary.

  4. mnb0 says

    The Netherlands are even more backward -- never had a female Prime Minister. Having had a queen iso a king for 100 years does not compensate for several reasons.

  5. hyphenman says


    What were the factors, do you believe, that lead to the election of Sirimavo Bandaranaike?


  6. Mano Singham says


    What caused her to be first elected was clear. She had not been in politics. Her husband who was prime minister was assassinated in 1959 and party leaders installed her as the leader of the party in the belief that being the grieving widow would be a sure-fire vote getter. They were right and her party won the 1960 elections easily.

    But the leaders who installed also thought that she would be an interim leader and a puppet in their hands and they were wrong. She turned out to be a wily political infighter and outmaneuvered her rivals to remain the leader for decades, winning many elections in her own right. She served as prime minister from 1965-1970 and 1970-1977 and 1994-2000.

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