The generational divide between democratic voters in the US is bringing up an important argument for feminists everywhere: how important is it to have a female president?
Feminist activist Gloria Steinem recently voiced her support for Hillary Clinton, claiming young girls are only supporting Bernie Sanders because “that’s where the boys are.” Despite her role in the feminist movement, Steinem’s quote belittles young female voters and is discouraging to a demographic that usually sees a low voter turnout.
Baby boomers and older Gen Y-ers have witnessed tremendous changes in the fight for gender equality. They have seen many countries allowing women to vote, the banning of sex discrimination in the workplace, women’s studies courses being introduced at universities, and the start of societal shift away from traditional gender roles. For this demographic, the next logical step is a female president. My issue with this logic, however, is that these individuals are doing what has been referred to as “voting with your vagina” – in other words, voting for Hillary simply because she’s a woman without doing research on any other candidates or platforms.
Millennials are looking beyond gender when deciding which candidate will represent the Democrats in the presidential election. Hillary Clinton is a career politician whose campaign funds come from questionable sources such as Wall Street corporations and countries that don’t support women’s rights.
Bernie Sanders’ grassroots campaign runs largely on individual contributions. He preaches about tackling corporate greed and tearing down Wall Street. Sanders aims to close the gap between the rich and poor and halt tax breaks for corporations. His Twitter discusses bringing equality to various marginalized groups such as people of colour, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and populations living in poverty. He has shown his support for the #blacklivesmatter movement and speaks openly about the issue of police brutality. Sanders’ platform includes universal healthcare, fighting against climate change, debt-free college, and a liveable minimum wage. He often talks about the high levels of poverty in the US, despite it being the richest country in history. In his 34 years as an elected official, Bernie has a record of always voting in favour of women’s rights and has a perfect record of voting in favour of LGBTQ+ rights.
While Hillary Clinton’s platform is more moderate than Bernie’s self-professed socialism, the two candidates share similar views on many topics. This is where voters need to do some research and look at each candidate’s history. In Hillary’s run for Democratic Candidate in 2008, she opposed marriage equality. She has not opposed the TPP, domestic surveillance, or the US military’s targeted drone strikes. Hillary allegedly tried to cover up the stories of victims who had been sexual assaulted by her husband in the 90s. She spoke ill of Monica Lewinsky and blamed her for the affair scandal rather than her cheating husband.
Although having a female president would be a history-making moment, it comes down to which platform aligns more with your own ideologies. Bernie is slightly more left-leaning and, in my opinion, is the better choice for women. The Democrats need someone who can beat Donald Trump, and Bernie will deliver the socialist revolution the US needs.