Why Hillary Clinton’s concession speech touched me

Posted: June 14, 2008 in feminisms
Tags: , , ,

“And although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it’s got about 18 million cracks in it.”- Hillary Rodham Clinton

Yes, yes, I agree with you dear reader, I am not American. You might even call me an “Orio” or a colonial for that matter. But really, when I read the news article of Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, I literally had a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach, the kind of unexplainable feeling that rendered me close to tears.

The line above particularly touched me, as it did hundreds of female “liberal” bloggers out there who wasted no time to quote her perhaps in a desperate attempt to evoke hope. On the other hand, the line also prompted critics to raise their eyebrows deeming it a statement coming straight of a shrewd politician’s mouth.

While I am not privy about US politics, I was secretly rooting for Hillary Clinton. And the way she ended her campaign made me respect her more. When she talked about the shattering the glass ceiling, I was then prompted to think about the glass ceilings of MY world, this so-called “third world” country I live in.

Unlike Hillary’s country, my country has seemingly put up this illusion of a broken if not shattered glass ceiling, the highest glass ceiling so far in this land of the morning. Over the years, we have elected 2 women presidents. We have had women leaders occupying cabinet positions. We have had women supreme court judges. Now, we have women who are presidents of state or national universities. And so most of us even asked if there’s really a glass ceiling.

All these things are illusory. It is quite ironic that we have elected 2 female presidents and the situation of women in our country has not improved dramatically. Laws, policies, and systems still exist to curtail women’s rights. There are still mechanisms that work against helping women improve their lives.

My most specific example is a woman’s right to her own body, to choose whether to have a child or not. I know anti-abortion supporters will lash out on me. But really, I believe that it should be part of a woman’s reproductive right to choose to pursue pregnancy or not. Take of instance cases of teenage or unwanted pregnancy. Several of the female teenagers I know who got pregnant out of wedlock, wish that they do have a choice. Even if eventually they will choose to keep the baby (which is always the case) they’d rather still want to be given choices to base their decision from.

The fact of the matter is, abortion is illegal in this country. And while yes, I can concede regarding this matter, what I am presently very frustrated about is the lack of mechanisms that help women who go through unwanted pregnancies. Access to information is nil. Access to experts who can advise them is non-existent. Access to “enlightened and non-judgemental” medical health practitioners is close to non-existent. Most of the time, what these women receive is the strong pressure to marry, as though this is the ONLY solution to their problem. What’s wrong with the system?

EVERYTHING, my dear readers. Everything.

Which brings me to the point that all these cracks in the system or the lack of the system still boils down to a lack of understanding of women’s varying situations across age, class, ethnicity, and the lack of political will from our leaders, from the institutions that we so trusted to defend us.

It is disheartening to note that by electing female leaders, we fail to consider that they will in the end fail to carry our voices. It is not the glass ceiling that is shattered. The glass ceiling is still there, and our so-called elected women leaders have helped cover it up to the point of unrecognizable distortion.

Don’t you think that it is quite ironic that it took a man like the late Raul Roco to speak for us Filpinas as he used to soldier along with other women advocates fighting for the rights that have been deprived us?

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