Hillary's Nomination Is Unsurprising, but That Doesn't Make It Any Less Historic

Because Clinton has been in the political spotlight for decades, it's easy to overlook the historical magnitude of her nomination.

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Jul 27 2016, 6:54pm

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Stocksy

Last night, Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major US political party.

Shortly after former president Bill Clinton delivered a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention sharing how he met and fell in love with his wife—and described her as "the best darned change-maker I have ever known"—a video montage revealed sepia-toned photos of all 44 US presidents. The crowd cheered as President Obama's face filled the screen before taking its place in the collage of leaders. Then, in a dramatic turn, the screen virtually exploded into shards of glass, revealing Hillary Clinton's beaming face, live from New York via satellite.

"What an incredible honor that you have given me, and I can't believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet," Clinton told the convention in Philadelphia.

Because Clinton has been in the political spotlight for decades, it's easy to overlook the historical magnitude of her nomination. But Gwen Young, Director of the Global Women's Leadership Initiative at Wilson Center, depicts Clinton's nomination as a tremendous step forward for gender equality and a landmark moment in history.

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Women were granted the right to vote nearly a century ago, but there are myriad reasons why this moment has taken so long. For one, men still overwhelming dominate the political landscape. "Like in most professions... you hire and offer opportunities to people you know and people you've worked with," said Young.

There's also the expectation of a time burden for many women, Young says, who are still often seen to be caretakers in the home. "There's still so much unconscious bias," she added. "Pew Research still shows that men and women don't think women are as strong in economics and national security, which are the two biggest issues facing the country. But also when people look at resumes, there's a default function on both sides that men are more qualified."

"If you sit and think about it, isn't it shocking that this is historical?" continued Young. "If we're supposed to be the leaders in this world, how can countries that we consider repressive, not as equal, or less economically sound have a female president and we can't?"

Certainly, it's been a long journey for Clinton, who campaigned and lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008. But she stayed her course, and is expected to formally accept the nomination this week. Before signing off on Tuesday night, she offered one last note of encouragement: "And if there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say I may become the first woman president. But one of you is next."

Meanwhile, in a press conference this morning, Republican nominee Donald Trump told a woman reporter to "be quiet" on national television.