I’m not naive enough to believe that the first female president will significantly alter the misogyny that infects the lives of women and girls in this country. But what I am beginning to believe is possible is something that is a parallel first step: a sense of empowerment.
I have spent a career in medicine, a lifetime in the operating room. Surgeons are (mostly) men. Nurses are (mostly) women. Anesthesiologists play a role something like Chief Financial Officer in this unique environment, the currency being patient physiology. The OR is special in terms of being a place where we take teamwork to a very high level. But in the corporate boardroom of the organization that runs the group of anesthesiologists and CRNA’s in which I work, we are still a throwback to the corporations of decades past. Our board consists of middle-aged mostly white guys. No woman is represented.
To say that I have lived and worked with misogyny is simply to say what women my age have experienced forever. I am certain that some women have been luckier, and some much more unfortunate. It can take years to understand the ways that discrimination works. If I, as an educated white woman, feel it as acutely as I do, imagine how people of color feel, or those without my privileges.
But for once I am beginning to believe that what matters is not the attitudes of the men around me, the attitude of those with power who want to hold on to it. I am beginning to understand that what matters is a belief in something better for women, for the future, and for our daughters. It is a belief that women, with or without men, will make things better for themselves and for their loved ones. That belief is not something that comes easily. You can’t buy it; it isn’t a slogan. It comes from somewhere deep inside, from watching someone persevere while knowing exactly what that perseverance means. Hillary made that possible for me.
I’m with her.