I’m not sure how many of my female colleagues (under 30) have experienced the sexism that is pretty prevalent in our society. Specifically, being passed up for a male of equal or lesser qualifications and much less experience. I see it in science (among faculty) and I hear about it all the time from some of my older female acquaintances, but rarely, if ever, among my undergraduate and graduate friends. At many universities, women undergraduates outnumber male undergraduates so it can be hard to appreciate the reality of our cultural sexism.
More voters admit their unwillingness to vote for a woman. Nearly one in five voters says that all things being equal, they would rather vote for a man. Fewer than half say that most people they know would vote for a woman for president, although this response may now be intertwined with whether or not people think their acquaintances would vote for Hillary Clinton. Still, 59 percent say America is ready for a woman president.
This is in no way a reason for anyone to vote for Hillary Clinton. But the question I always ask people about this election is this: If Hillary and Obama were to submit resumes without names before applying for president, who do you think would come out on top? I hear from many Obama supporters–haven’t asked all of them, obviously–that of course Hillary would come out on top but that doesn’t matter. A progressive activist friend of mine stated bluntly, when asked explicitly, that hard work and understanding of the issues didn’t really matter to him this time. (Yeah, he was harping on the importance of those qualities before this election.)
I don’t know the answer to this, but if Hillary Clinton were a man, would she be having such a difficult time? Is the cavalier and callous dismissal of Hillary’s accomplishments part of the rampant sexism we see? Are young women on college campuses living in a sexism bubble? Will they be less willing to call Hillary a “monster” (and some have) when the get to experience sexism first hand?