On a sun-drenched stage under the Kimmel Center’s vaulted glass ceiling, women in politics and their supporters celebrated breaking through another glass ceiling: the one Hillary Clinton smashed after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination the previous day.
EMILY’s List, a political action committee dedicated to helping women reach elected offices, threw an afternoon fete Wednesday, where keynote speakers addressed hundreds of delegates, speaking on the historic nature of Clinton’s nomination, retelling their own struggles and triumphs in overcoming sexism, and buckling down on their mission to ensure greater female representation in politics.
“This is really your victory. This is really your night,” Clinton said via satellite to a crowd of cheering supporters Tuesday night, once delegates elected the former secretary of state. “And if there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say I may become the first woman president. But one of you is next.”
Clinton will give her acceptance speech tonight in person, just miles from Independence Hall where the nation was conceived. Party discordaside, the weight of Clinton’s nomination is palpable.
“Today, we are here to celebrate history, but let’s face it: It’s ‘her-story,'” quipped Katie McGinty, a Northeast Philly native and U.S. Senate candidate.
“What we know is that when women are not empowered, America is not empowered,” McGinty told a cheering crowd. “Together, we have to change it. Together, we will change it. Because as Hillary would say, we are ‘stronger together.'”
“We will ensure that for my daughters and yours, that they get to grow up in a world that everyone who works hard has the same chance to succeed,” the former environmental advisor to Bill Clinton said.
Clinton’s work in advancing the rights of women has been at the forefront of this convention, and women seem to be her loudest allies. They recall the day when, in 1995, the then-first lady declared in Beijing that “women’s rights are human rights.”
New York Sen. Chuck Schumerpraised the role of women in politics at the EMILY’s List event.
“Women are key,” the senior senator said in reference to the ongoing fight to protect a woman’s right to choose and women’s health. “Women make better candidates than men.”
“If we don’t elect Hillary Rodham Clinton as president, and we don’t take back the Senate, America is going to have big, big trouble.”
Fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren, from Massachusetts, drew wild reactions from the crowd. The standard-bearer for the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, told the audience about her own battle to shatter the glass ceiling when, just five years ago, she left her career as a professor and ran for public office. One friend, she recalled, said the job might be better suited for a man.
“What it fundamentallysays,” Warren explained, “is no matter how smart you are, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you get out there … there’s going to be some number of people–even your friends – who think you can’t do this for the sole reason because you’re a woman.
“For everyone who thinks it doesn’t matter anymore, women can run just like men can run and it’s all just the same,pause to ask: Why are women 20 percent of the United States Senate when we’re 50 percent of the population?”