This is NOT the reality we expected.
We expected Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election. All the signs seemed to point that way and, as women who have studied and written about women leaders, we couldn’t wait to see what transpired with her at the helm. Would she deliver on her promises to advance women’s issues? Would she fulfill her commitment to appointing a Cabinet made up of 50% women? Would she have the chance to join forces with Angela Merkel and Theresa May, forming the first female trio on the G8?
Well, as you know, none of that came to pass. Clinton didn’t win the presidency and the hopes and dreams we had for watching a female president assume leadership didn’t come to life.
But something else happened.
Within hours of the election, women started organizing. What started as a Facebook post – hey, we should do something about this – spread fast into a diverse coalition of leaders organizing one of the biggest marches in U.S. history. Millions of women and men heeded the call, donned pink pussy hats, jumped in cars or got tickets for midnight trains, planes and busses headed for the main March in Washington, DC or to one of the over 600 Sister Marches held throughout the nation and across the globe.
We were there, in Washington. Maggie brought her 15 year old daughter and Betsy was accompanied by her 18 year old son. Both our children insisted on marching. This, after all, is their history in the making.
And it was good to stand shoulder to shoulder with thousands and thousands of humans. It was right. It was cathartic. It was therapeutic. And, girl, were we were strong. 3.2 million North Americans participated in a March in one way or another – that’s more than one in 100 of us living in the U.S.
More than all that, the peaceful power of these marches reinforced – for all who were there and many who weren’t – what happens when women lead together. The truth is we transform our neighborhoods, our communities and our world.
Alas, we didn’t get the big win with Clinton. But through adversity we are finding opportunities for new kinds of reenergizing, refocusing wins. We are showing ourselves, each other, our nation and the world that our voices are strong on their own and, together, they’re one incredible, mighty chorus.
It’s up to us to keep the chorus loud, vibrant and in tune. We can do that by:
- Spreading the word. Let’s keep on letting the world know that women leading together transform our neighborhoods, our communities, our worlds. Just look around – from PTAs to Black Lives Matter to the Women’s March to everything in between – women are banding together to make a difference – putting Powership, the strength that comes when we lead together, in motion. That’s a real fact that needs to be celebrated.
- Leading together. It’s no longer a choice for any woman who woke up on November 9th feeling shaken by an unexpected reality and then found strength and solace from the women around her. This is the time for women to lead together. Together, we make a positive difference and, perhaps, now more than ever, we are needed.
- Running. Since the Women’s March, tens of thousands of women have indicated their intent to pursue public office. As we run and win, let’s do it together. Because if we don’t, who will?
This is it, our new reality, together. We’re ready – we bet you are, too.
Maggie & Betsy