Writing by Maddison Langley
A feeling of incomprehensible sadness and hurt is radiating through the hearts of many after the events of Tuesday’s United States Presidential election. The outcome of this election will resonate with women across the world as Hillary Clinton’s loss bespeaks of something that transcends the election. A feeling of despair — that no matter how qualified, how prepared, and how deserving we may be, our career opportunities will be shrouded in disappointment and unfairness. By no means was Hillary Clinton a faultless candidate, but whatever faults she may have, no one can conceivably deny her commitment and dedication to a career she has spent over 40 years cultivating. This is just one thing that makes her loss to President-elect Donald Trump so painful. A man who waltzed into the presidential campaign without any political success on his resume and a flamboyant demoralisation of women, amongst other minorities, to defeat Hillary Clinton. A qualified, passionate, and hard-working woman who had dedicated her entire life to public service, to this job. That hurts.
Throughout our young lives, many of us are taught that our gender does not define our success…which as we grow older, we realise is both true and false.
We are told that our intelligence, dedication, and work-ethic alone will be the factors that influence our success as we prepare to enter the work-force. That our skills alone will be judged on the ability to successfully fulfill a role. That our gender will not affect our candidacy, because “girls can do anything boys can do.”
Growing up and realising this wonderful fantasy is not always reality is deeply painful and was felt in full force on Tuesday as our hopes and dreams shattered alongside Hillary. Because the brutal reality is, our gender does affect how we are perceived. We cannot be powerful or god forbid, a leader, without evoking ridicule, born out of fear, from a large number of the opposite sex (and disturbingly, even from some fellow women, as well). The evidence is ever present: sexist jokes about female leadership, archaic beliefs that women are not biologically suited to leadership, the constant attack on appearance over credentials. It all speaks of a reality that shatters the eternal optimism of youth.
Yet through this all, we as women remain resilient to such setbacks and perhaps this is our main source of success. It instills a determination, a drive, an unfaltering commitment to try and try again, no matter how many times we are overlooked. That is our success. A fierce unwillingness to accept defeat no matter the circumstance. To understand our hurt but not allow it to consume us and leave us stagnant in fear of success and achievement. But to rather emit strength and determination which has seen us succeed time and again.
Take this passion and eternal strength with you throughout the sadness of Hillary Clinton’s defeat — for we all will lose in our lifetimes. Sometimes it will be for reasons for which we cannot control or change. It will probably happen more than once. However, no matter our pain, we must remember there are thousands of women before us — and Hillary Clinton — who have achieved success despite a tirade of setbacks and disappointments. These women are the pillar-stones we must look to, who remind us that despite our setbacks, no matter how unfair they may be, it is imperative that we never give up. We must remember our tenacity, be confident in our achievements and act upon our abilities. Let us stand tall and assured that we will be zealous in our efforts for change. Turn to the words of Hillary herself in her concession speech:“To the young people in particular, I hope you will hear this. I have […] spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks. Sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional public and political careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too. This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is — it is worth it.”
Photographs sourced from Time magazine.[share]