When Sandra Day O’Connor Broke Into the Men’s Club

Reflections on “When Sandra Day O’Connor Broke Into the Men’s Club” (article from the New York Times)

June 2008: Hillary Clinton regretfully ends her presidential bid, saying, “although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it.”

Flash forward to 2016: Hillary ensures that the ceiling has not only been shattered but its pieces have been mopped up for good. However, I watch sadly as young Americans overestimate the power of her victory, as if it is some panacea. As Linda
Greenhouse reminds us, discrimination doesn’t just magically disappear. One week after Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination, Gap Kids released an ignorant ad labeling boys as “scholars” and girls as “social butterflies.” Elsewhere, a Dallas-based company began selling shirts that read “girls who love baseball are rare,” in an era where women comprise 47 percent of baseball fans.

The sobering news, to both women and men, is that despite enormous strides taken by women on the big stage, gender discrimination still exists in daily life. This is why it is important to call it out. There is nothing “politically correct” about erasing the very obstacles that prevent women from having the same opportunities men do, and labeling people as “oversensitive” for protesting real injustices is a huge part of the problem. Eventually, people need to learn that “insignificant” words create perceptions, and perceptions create the very stereotypes we struggle to break today.

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