She led masterfully

By Political Parity on June 13, 2015

Truth be told, I have always gravitated towards strong women. As a teenager, seeing Mary Matalin on the news made me want to be Mary Matalin. I felt the same way about Dee Dee Myers. And it wasn’t just the political bit that made me admire them, but the fact that they had control of their subject and were more-than-holding their own in what’s typically a man’s world. Later, as a twenty-something, I had the incredible fortune of having Dr. Condoleezza Rice as my first boss – a woman, who embodies brilliance and determination; a woman, who became the first female National Security Advisor in American history and then the first African-American female Secretary of State. She led, and she led masterfully, and with grace during one of the most recent, difficult times for the US – it started with 9-11.

So the question really is, why women? To this I would rebut, why not women? I want to see women, like Dr. Rice, lead in these high positions of political leadership, because they are proficient and, thus, deserving.

…and she led masterfully

First, allow me to state the obvious – I am a woman, and as such, it’s natural to want to see women succeed. And, I want to see women lead across the board, not just in politics. I want to see women become successful doctors, engineers, architects, teachers, investment bankers, athletes, musicians, and moms. You get the idea. I want to see women elected to higher office and promoted as CEOs because they are competent and the most capable person for the position — because they are masters of their field.

Not to be redundant, but let me play the devil’s advocate. Again, why women?

For me, the pinnacle of power has always been about the Presidency, and everything that surrounds it and him (because it’s always been a him). While, for some, money is the penultimate of power – let’s be frank, it’s attainable for the majority of those individuals who want to work for it. Many can study to become investment bankers and lawyers, but few over the span of America’s life, past and future, are able to achieve the Presidency (and certainly not women). The symbolism is implied that we, women, are weaker and not worthy. I don’t like it.

So, if the Presidency embodies the elite of the super elite, women have yet to be accepted into this exclusive club. It’s not because we aren’t smart enough – we are. And, it’s not because we can’t manage a family and our careers – we can. It’s frustrating, and not all that surprising, seeing that women’s suffrage was only granted nationally 95 years ago in 1920. For too long, women were not allowed to have a political voice…and it’s somehow carried over and gotten wedged into the American psyche. When we finally elect a female President, then the symbolism of women as the weaker gender in the political sphere will begin to turn.

We, as women, have never asked for something deserved, but earned.

The 2016 presidential election is monumental, at the very least, in American history. For the first time, we have two incredibly competent women – one Democrat and one Republican – running to serve this country as the next President of the United States. Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina.

I am working hard on behalf of all women in politics and want them to attain the highest positions of leadership in this great country. How progressive is America, really, if we can’t elect a woman President? Women compose over 50% of the US population, yet, we’ve yet to elect one to the highest office. Truth be told, not many women have self-selected to run for higher office in comparison to men. But, again, women weren’t even voting 100 years ago – so it has taken some time to convince themselves that they can, and indeed, should run. At least, that’s my take.

We, as women, have never asked for something deserved, but earned.

To both women in the 2016 race, I wish you luck. To those of you who are considering a future run, it’s time. Work hard and don’t take no for an answer.

Disclaimer: this blog is by no means an endorsement of either 2016 female candidate. I vote for the best woman or man standing. It’s not about gender, but about being the absolute best person for the absolutely most important job in America. I am just thrilled we have such phenomenal women in the mix.

Sarah Lenti is the founder of her political consulting firm, SML Advisory Partners.  Sarah’s clients range widely from candidates and politicians to international non-profits, independent documentary films and super PACS.  Previously, she served under Dr. Condoleezza Rice at the National Security Council, worked on three Presidential election campaigns, and led the policy research for Governor Mitt Romney’s book, No Apology: The Case for American GreatnessConnect with Sarah on Twitter with the hashtags #PrimaryHurdles and #GOPWomen.