Posted by: chlost | March 27, 2011

Woman (almost) in charge

Although everyone seems to be discussing the life and death of Elizabeth Taylor this weekend, I was more saddened to learn of the death of Geraldine Ferraro.

The fact that a woman could possibly be Vice  President was an eye-opening concept at that time. It was nearly as amazing as the idea of a black President. Back then, neither women nor African Americans had any real chance of rising to any position of power in this country. The United States was the land of rich white guys.

I remember feeling quite proud of her. I was also very proud that a fellow Minnesotan, Presidential candidate Walter Mondale, had the first major party female Vice Presidential candidate. We were at the forefront of a new world.

Talk about Hope. As women, we suddenly had Hope.

There have been many discussions within groups of friends and family which begin or end with the comment “If women were in charge, the world would be much better”. The candidacy of Ferraro made that a real possibility. A better world.

The concept of a female Vice President (or even, *gasp!* President) in those days garnered a lot of media coverage, and was the topic of many water cooler and dinner party discussions. Could a woman govern during “that time of the month”?, could she be tough enough to take on the Soviet threat?, how could a woman be both a mother and a political leader of the United States?.  The concerns of many were sexist and sometimes cruel. Margaret Thatcher and Indira Ghandi notwithstanding (not to mention many queens over the centuries), there seemed to be a large portion of the United States constituency who could not accept the idea of a female leader. Geraldine Ferraro looked more like a middle class American housewife than either Thatcher or Ghandi. Perhaps she didn’t look tough enough for some voters. Maybe she looked too nice.

The rich white guys didn’t give up easily. Geraldine Ferraro toughed it out. She ran a campaign in spite of the all the negativity she faced. Even though they lost by a wide margin, she had run . She had been the first female candidate on a major party Presidential ticket.  It is disappointing to me that even all of these years, we still haven’t had a female Presidential candidate. I had high hopes for Hillary Clinton-but we know what happened.

At that time, I remember talking to someone about the campaign. I don’t remember who he was, why we were discussing the election, or where we were. But he said something that has stuck with me for all of these years:  “The Democrats may have had the first female candidate, but the Republicans will have the first female President.”

I fear that. Especially given the possible contenders.

But I still am proud of Ferraro. Thanks for blazing the trail. Someday, it will happen.

Thanks to Ms. Ferraro, who blazed the trail.



  1. Oh great, that last paragraph will keep me up nights. I do believe most qualified woman, besides “her” could handle the job. We are much better mulittaskers and that is a prime requisite. Besides, we can’t do any worse.
    I too had high hopes for Hilliary.

    • Yes, some women would be better than many men. Or maybe I meant to say a woman would be better than many men…..

  2. You know what surprises me in the US? Well, you know I have lived in this country for decades but after all these talks about “freedom” I wonder why women have so little. Most people here say the US is the world’s best country so they do not look at others, but for example Norway’s government is 50% women. The big corporations there are not allowed to have less than 40% of the top officers be women. I was surprised to realize when Geraldine Ferraro was on the ticket that she was the first one. I would have thought that in a country that constantly says that they believe in everyone’s being equal, women would have been running decades ago. You know, this is a little bit why so many foreign countries don’t like us – because we preach something and do something else.

    • America in general has such a big ego, it is no wonder no one else likes us. And yet, we don’t seem to understand this. In our travels overseas, the most common question we received was “Why does America……(fill in the blank)?” No one else gets it. Neither do I.

  3. Unfortunately the rich white guys are still in charge. Nearly all senators and about half of congress are millionaires. I don’t believe they are there because they care so much about everyone else. They certainly don’t act like they do. I have little faith left in our plutocracy. Ms. Ferraro was a glimmer of hope, a cat’s eye among aggies.

    • They do not care unless it is to their advantage. Then they will try to make you believe it is about you, not them.

  4. Like Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton seems to be doing an excellent job as Secretary of State. Perhaps she will be elected President, too, some future day. It seems to be taking forever, but I think we’re moving in the direction of having more women in high offices. But hopefully not that particular possible female Republican contender!!!

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