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graveThe annual Election Day tradition of posting stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s grave in Rochester, N.Y. gained international attention this year. After all, this was the year we were supposed to elect our first female president. People lined up for hours to pay tribute to our hometown hero who helped secure women’s right to vote. This was a special, long-awaited moment.

Something didn’t feel right. I tweeted my misgivings about the massive celebration at Mt. Hope Cemetery. There was no joy in my heart about going to the polls the next day.

Maybe Clinton lost because she’s a woman. Maybe she didn’t. We all know she was a flawed candidate. That’s not the point. The point is that during this campaign, Clinton faced the same sexism women face every day in America.

A Clinton win wouldn’t have erased what happened during the campaign. A Clinton win wouldn’t have prevented other women from enduring sexism when they jump into politics or seek a promotion. Just as Barack Obama’s presidency didn’t end racism, a Clinton presidency wouldn’t have ended sexism.

In America, it’s okay to demean women candidates. Republicans and Democrats engage in this behavior. Men and women are guilty.

“Trump that bitch.”

“Such a nasty woman.”

“She’s likable enough.”

Entitled. Power-hungry. Ambitious. Corrupt. Controlled. Bitch.

We don’t question the motivations of men who seek political office. But we pick apart women. It doesn’t seem natural for women to seek power, so she must be up to no good. Women are held to a different standard. Women pay a heavier price when they’re attacked or they falter.

The worst part of this kind of sexism is it’s not always easy to see. Good people who believe in equality can be guilty of devaluing women — myself included. Gender tropes are insidious in our culture.

susanbI’m enormously proud to live in a city that cherishes a feminist icon. There’s no doubt Anthony would have loved to see all those women lined up at her grave. But Anthony would have been the first person to tell the hopeful throngs that their work is not done.

Anthony said in 1893, “It is because women have been taught always to work for something else than their own personal freedom; and the hardest thing in the world is to organize women for the one purpose of securing their political liberty and political equality.”

Use those stickers to stick together.

My book, Broad, Casted explores the role of gender in my journalism career and campaign for state assembly. It is available in print and digital editions.

BlocksThe Democrat and Chronicle did an important story on daycare in the Rochester area. There are often long waiting lists and the cost of quality care is significant. Daycares are 79 percent full on average and it’s harder to find a spot for an infant. The article advises women to get on lists as soon as they find out they’re pregnant. Here’s an excerpt:

Experts say the high demand could be caused by several factors. Running a childcare center is expensive, so they’re not exactly on every street corner. More families have two parents working than a few years ago because home budgets are still tight. And the United States doesn’t provide institutional care the way that other countries do.

(snip)

In Rochester, four out of the five largest employers — Wegman’s, Rochester General, Xerox, and the Rochester City School District — do not offer any on-site day care.

The largest employer in the area, University of Rochester/Strong Memorial Hospital, has the Children’s School at University of Rochester Medical Center, available to anyone affiliated with the University of Rochester. There is currently a waiting list for the center.

(snip)

According to Child Care Council, average day care in Monroe County costs anywhere from $143 to $237 a week, depending on the type of care and the age of the child.

Should quality, affordable daycare be a right? Should government and employers do more to make it easier for working parents? Should daycare be institutionalized, similar to the public school system?

 

Links of the Day:

 

Rochester’s appetite for surveillance cameras is waning.

– Rep. Tom Reed had stomach surgery and lost a lot of weight.

“Gov. Cuomo wants to be leader of the free world, but he can’t even get along with Canada?”

– Good news: ABC will live-stream all of its content on mobile apps. Bad news: You’ll have to be a pay-TV subscriber.

Inside a Paris apartment that was untouched for 70 years.