'The hardest, highest glass ceiling'
American women face a tough battle as they seek to shatter the "highest, hardest glass ceiling" – the election of a female US president – because of the enduring double standards in politics, Hillary Clinton told the Observer yesterday.
The former secretary of state, senator and first lady, who in 2008 became the only woman in America to have won a presidential primary, says that she has a "great personal commitment" to seeing a woman in the White House. "I'm hoping that we get it cracked, because it's past time, but it's going to be difficult."
Hillary stepped down as America's top diplomat last year and has embarked on a book tour for Hard Choices, her new memoir of four years at the state department. She has yet to disclose whether she will launch a second presidential bid in 2016 in which she is seen as a strong candidate both to take the Democratic nomination that eluded her six years ago and to seal her return to the White House, this time as president.
Hard Choices begins with Hillary's bruising defeat at the hands of Barack Obama in the 2008 contest to become the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. In her concession speech, on 7 June in Washington, she told her disappointed supporters: "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."
Despite the enduringly tough terrain for senior female politicians in America, there are signs of change. A poll conducted by Emily's List, the campaign that seeks to have more pro-choice Democratic women elected to public office, found that 75% of voters saw a female president as a good thing that would send a positive signal to the nation's children.
Hillary has indicated that she is likely to announce her decision on whether to run early next year.