Why We Are Just Now Close to a Woman Head of State

A lot of people are trying to downplay the historic importance of the first woman nominated by a major party for the presidency. That’s ok. We all know that history is written by the winners. Why, however has a woman never gotten this close to the presidency before?

What’s interesting is how long it has taken for us, the most advanced country on earth – or at least we used to be – to have a woman win the nomination of a major party.

Wonder why? Most other countries have been monarchies and are accustomed to women as leader. Ever heard the phrase the sun never sets on the British Empire? It means that at one time, Britain had colonized much of the world and its presence was felt around the globe, particularly in Africa and the far east. Queen Victoria, who ruled over this expansion was one of the longest sitting monarchs and there was no question that although Britain had – and still does – a parliamentary system, she was very much a hands on ruler.

Over time, even if the monarchies remained in place, they became more ceremonial and governing was shifted to elected officials – most commonly a Parliamentary System. This means that instead of electing a leader, the people choose a party and the party chose its leader.

So, if we had this system, and chose the Democratic party, Congress and the President would be Democrats. The United States chose instead to be a republic with a representative democracy. What many may not remember from civics class is that voters in Colonial America had to be male. A white, land-owning male. It’s taken us a long time to work the kinks out of this exercise in democracy, but we’re getting there.

The reason it’s taken so long for a woman to achieve the nomination of a major political party is partly because sexism still exists in our country, and partly because we don’t have a parliamentary system.

It’s much, much easier to rise within a party by establishing relationships and alliances as has Hillary, than to appeal on an individual basis to an entire country. This is why we are one of the last of countries to have a woman as leader – or at least this close to having one.

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