The National Organization for Women (NOW) celebrates Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign announcement as a proud moment for women everywhere. Reflecting the dreams of suffragists at Seneca Falls in 1848 and the vision of NOW’s founders 40 years ago, this weekend Clinton became the first woman ever to enter the race for U.S. president as the clear frontrunner for a major party’s nomination.
This has been an historic year for women in many ways, with Clinton’s announcement following Nancy Pelosi’s election as Speaker of the House and the largest ever number of women in the House, in the Senate, and in governor’s mansions across the country. After six disastrous years of George W. Bush, we are enthusiastic about the emergence of women leaders whose voices and skills are so desperately needed in the current national debate.
NOW has been proud to support trailblazing women whose historic runs made the idea of a woman president ever more possible – standing with Representative Shirley Chisholm at her announcement in 1972, encouraging Representative Patricia Schroeder’s bid in 1988, and endorsing Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun for the Democratic nomination in 2004. NOW members across the country also played a role in Vice President Walter Mondale’s selection of Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate in 1984. Each of these women opened another door for those who follow them, and we salute their foresight and courage.
The field of candidates for the 2008 Democratic nomination is like a dream come true: contenders include a woman frontrunner, an African American, a Latino, and several pro-choice, pro-peace, pro-family men. This rainbow represents much of the diversity of our nation, and has the potential to bring issues of relevance to far more people during the primary contest. Our country deserves new leadership and a new direction in these perilous times.
Clinton has been a leader for the new century, advancing ideas and policies to address intractable problems. For example, if her visionary 1993 proposal to reform the U.S. health care system hadn’t been undermined by a misleading, multi-million dollar insurance industry ad campaign, we surely would not be facing the health care financing crisis that confronts the country today.
We congratulate Senator Clinton on taking this first step toward seeking her party’s nomination. The future for women looks brighter already.