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hillaryAfter Hillary Clinton’s loss, women around the country grieved. So did their young daughters. The glass ceiling held.

“To all the little girls watching this, never doubt that you are powerful and valuable and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world,” Clinton said in her concession speech.

Clinton reminded us of the little girls throughout her campaign, even producing an ad showing them looking in the mirror while listening to Donald’s Trump’s put-downs of women. Clinton implored us to remember this election would speak to them.

That’s why Trump’s victory was a crushing, devastating blow to those hoping to send a message that misogyny would no longer be tolerated.

It’s not enough to tell little girls they still matter. It’s not enough to tell little girls they can become anything they want in life. It’s not enough to tell  them they’re equal to little boys.

Little girls should know they may be in for a different ride in life. When they show leadership, they may be told they’re bossy, attention-seeking and annoying. They may not get the same kind of praise for a job well done. They may not get the same raises. They may not get the same promotions. They may be told they’re not likable. They may be told they’re too ambitious. They may be told to wait their turn. When they wait their turn, they may be told they’re entitled.

No one wants to have that conversation with little girls. We don’t want to admit this stuff still happens. We don’t want to expose them to these unpleasant realities. We don’t want to confront our own biases and our own complicity.

Many people say Clinton didn’t lose because she’s a woman. Even if that’s true, we can’t deny she’s been held to a different standard her whole career. We can’t deny Trump’s misogyny didn’t prevent him from winning an election.

I have no doubt there will one day be a woman president. Maybe it will be more likely if we confront what often happens to women when they strive for success. Maybe women would be more prepared for these obstacles if they were warned — when they were little girls.

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. There will be a book signing at the Little Theatre Cafe on November 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. Coffee and cookies provided.


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15 Responses to What to Tell Little Girls?

  1. Rachel, you can be honest and tell the girls that Hillary was a terrible candidate! Just because she’s a female, it did not automatically win Hillary election as why would another terrible candidate, Donald Trump, win it? Bernie had the enthusiasm and excitement and would have probably beat Trump, but the DNC fixed it to favor Hillary.

  2. Tell them they are safe Bill Clinton will not be returning to the White House

  3. November 13, 2016 at 11:42 am Larry Kilbury responds:

    Rachel, I probably would have voted for you if I lived in your district. What you have posted today is utter nonsense.
    If all of these women who claim to be for breaking the glass ceiling had supported Sarah Palin, then they would be more believable. It’s hard to accept women that wanted Hillary to be the one to break the glass ceiling. I agree with the first comment. Smiles

    • November 13, 2016 at 11:45 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      I never said Clinton lost because of her gender. I am saying we should talk about the role of gender. Palin also faced sexism.

  4. Do you really think the glass ceiling is what held her back?
    If think if she was the first woman elected it would be a big step backward for women.

  5. Let’s start the movement for Kristen Gillibrand for POTUS in 2020.

  6. November 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm Paviour Ernest responds:

    Maybe it will be a women president that is not a full blown crook if we can remain a free country?

  7. I’d say THEE lesson of Hillary’s loss for little girls is … don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t think the law doesn’t apply to all equally in this country. If Mrs Clinton didn’t lie to the people, to Congress under oath or to the Benghazi Parents of 4 Murderer American, if she didn’t cheat and try to hide the truth contained in emails by bleaching the server clean and if she didn’t think the law applied to her that same as it does to all people, she likely would have become President.

    That would be called treating the little girl with respect by telling them the truth! Anything else is just a scam and trying to mask and hide the truth. If you don’t tell them the truth she will some day be in a discussion sometime and try to claim Mrs Clinton was victim of sexism and she will be made to look foolish when exposed to the real truth.

  8. What to tell little girls,….actually I began that process 43 years ago when my first, of two girls was born. Then had another 3 years later. I told them that the opportunity to be what they wanted to be was a reality from day one. I also stated that it would not be a gift. They would have to work toward their goal. They didn’t set the presidency as their goal, but did work toward a profession and,….did very well. The gender issue, never got in their way. One joined the Navy and became one of the first women to serve on a carrier deck. No,….she didn’t command the carrier, but that wasn’t her mission. The other a medical imaging technologist. No,…she didn’t become a doctor, but that wasn’t her mission. They pursued their dreams without any whining about the gender issue. The opportunity is there, period. Are the genders equal? Nope,…and never will be. The day I will be convinced of that is when we create a gender neutral Olympics. Now,.. you might say,…well that’s just plain dumb. Man and women are not equally blessed when it comes to that. My point exactly. The opportunity to run the 100 meter in a gender neutral Olympics will never be won by a female. President, not a problem. Just not this one, not this time, because we didn’t like what we saw, what we have experienced, what we heard. You see, I also taught my girls to be honest, ethical and do, not just thing right, but do the right thing. Hillary didn’t measure up, period.

  9. November 16, 2016 at 6:14 am Some Guy responds:

    What to tell them? Think for themselves, and vote on policy, not the presence or lack thereof of a given sex organ. And don’t blame women or men or whites or blacks or latinos and assert they are acting against their own interests when they refuse to vote for a hopelessly corrupt maniac who got filthy, stinking, despicably rich solely as a result of their “public service”.

    If Dems want to keep losing elections, keep treating everyone who doesn’t fall lockstep into the myriad conflicting and ever-expanding “causes” of progressive SJW’s (the sort who have never worked an honest private sector job that wasn’t ultimately underwritten by taxpayers) as if they are illiterate foreigners. It’s fantastic hubris that progressives somehow presume that educated, financially-independent households “obviously must vote Democrat” because “they’re too smart to be racists”.

    It’s comical that progressives can’t quite grasp that while they have used government, the media, higher and lower education, and their total control of human resources departments to impose the most Orwellian regimes of political correctness imaginable on a large swathe of the populace, a hell of a lot of those men AND WOMEN, resent it to the Nth degree. But it’s also why people don’t waste their time engaging, debating, disputing, or even conversing with progressives, as it will invariably end up with them being tarred as some sort of selfish, intolerant, bigoted, piece of un-American trash. And then these Einsteins wonder why we won’t ever fill in the bubble for their hopelessly corrupt multi-millionaire who got filthy stinking rich off pimping out the power couple’s supposed “public service” to the most disreputable of the American corporatocracy.

    After every election, Dem talking heads never look in the mirror, they continue to look down upon a larger swathe of America than they can possibly know, because their brand of political correctness has ensured there can be no dialogue; among their co-workers, neighbors, and even their own family. That is how caustic their worldview is to the rest of us who understand the federal government was not created to tell the owners of private property that the ladies room is open to all — or else. That’s the problem when old-school liberalism was ridden out of the Democratic party, the path was no longer Americanism, but cleverly papered over Marxism.

    P.S. I voted third party, but obviously would rather have Trump appointing to the SCOTUS than the un-indicted spouse of a known and admitted perjurer in the selection of the far lesser of two evils in what H.L. Mencken described as an “advance auction on looted goods”

  10. Rachel, you probably have better access to statistics than many of us. I heard that the post election survey showed that Hillary received 51% of college educated white women. Is that true?
    If so, it says a lot.

  11. I came across this book: “What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live”.

    It was written by Kellyanne Conway in 2010 along with a female contributor and shows how they are not victims but instead are able to be empowered.

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