I am a supporter of Hillary Clinton, and lately the question has been asked in newspapers, networking groups and on-line forums “Why aren’t more women voting for Hillary Clinton?”
After much careful thought and research, here are some of the disturbing, defeating and disappointing answers that I have found.
1. There are very few social paradigms that women can use in order to relate to a woman in the role of the ultimate decision maker in a powerful position or role in everyday life.
This holds true in so many aspects of American life including;
A. Yes, a woman can have power in her home as a mother (leadership of the children), but sometimes even here she will defer to a man or male figure if one is living in the household; whether it be a husband, father, brother, uncle or grandparent. This is conveyed by the single phrase “if you don’t behave, you wait until your father gets home”, which defers the ultimate authority in the house away from her onto the male authority figure; this will even happen with single mothers who have a live-in boyfriend.
B. Yes, a woman can have power over small groups such as leadership of a Girl Scout troop (leadership of the children), or the PTA, or local city councils; however all these are situations where a group dynamic is in play, there’s no single dominant controlling position within these organizations or groups.
C. In the education system, within the elementary and middle schools, the majority of the teachers are women (leadership of the children), but once you are at the high school level most of the female teachers teach what are known as the social sciences or “soft” subjects, such as English, the arts, and history; whereas men teach the “hard” subjects, such as science, mathematics, and chemistry. The principal of a high school is usually male, and the VP may or may not be female, again an example of women with a secondary but not ultimate decision making role.
D. No example of an American woman president (yet).
E. Yes, in the business world women have attained middle management or upper level management positions, but rarely make it to the top positions of (for example) the Fortune 500’s CEOs, CFOs or COOs.
According to CNNMoney.com in 2007 there were only 10 women CEOs, CFOs or COOs in the Fortune 500 (that’s only 2 percent), in 2006 there were only 7 out of 500 women in the top decision making positions (that’s only 1.4 percent) and in 2005 there were only 6 women running the top money making businesses in the world (that’s only 1.2 percent). (*1)
Yes, there are many women who have gone into business for themselves and therefore have the top position of CEO, CFO or COO, but again, without staff or employees you cannot say a person is in a leadership role unless they’re leading a group of people.
F. In religion (a powerful social tool), only a miniscule number of churches allow women in the top decision making positions or positions of power/authority.
Here is a random sampling of religions and their stance on women in positions of power:
Religion–Allows women priests/pastors, etc?–Number#–Ratio
Catholic- N (2001) 50,873,000 24.5%
Muslim- N (2001) 1,104,000 .5%
Mormon(Church of LDS)- N (2001) 2,787,000 1.3%
Jehovah’s Witness- N (2001) 1,381,000 .6%
Judaism- Yes as of 1985(4) Y (2001) 2,831,000 1.3%
Baptist- Y/n (2001) 33,830,000 16.3%
(up to each individual church, most have refused women into the ministry)
Buddhist- Yes as of 1998, Y/n (2001) 1,082,000 .5%
but still extremely rare 
Paganism/ Goddess Worshipers- Y (2001) 140,000 <less 1%>
Quakers/Friends Church Y (2001) 67,000 <less 1%>
(Statistics from *3)
“Many faith groups still refuse to consider women for ordination. Many teach that women have very specific roles, both in the family and in religious organizations where positions of authority and power are reserved for males. This list includes the Roman Catholic Church, all Eastern Orthodox churches, a minority of provinces within the Anglican Communion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and many Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Protestant denominations.”(*2)
According to a New York Times article dated February 14, 1985, “After years of debate, the worldwide governing body of Conservative Judaism has decided to admit women as rabbis. The group, the Rabbinical Assembly, plans to announce its decision at a news conference…at the Jewish Theological Seminary…”(4)
G. Examples are lacking in the judicial system, as “only two women have served on the U.S. Supreme Court during its first two hundred years of existence, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.” (5)
H. Examples are lacking in the political system; here are the sad facts:
“Since Jeanette Rankin, over 170 women have been elected to the House of Representatives where they are now honored by the Women in Congress Web site.” (6)
Currently there are only 13 women in the Senate, along with 87 men, we comprise only 13 percent of the total number of Senators, while remaining approximately 51 percent of the national population. As you can see, we are vastly underrepresented.
Meanwhile in the massive House of Representatives, currently numbering 438, there are only 62 women, again coming in at a measly 14 percent of the total compared to the 376 men (86 percent). (7)
Remember, these are ELECTED officials, so women could elect more women to represent them in the place where our nation’s LAWS are made, yet, the statistics remain low.
With little or no experience of women in an ultimate decision making role, many women don’t trust a woman to have that kind of power. It’s a Catch-22, if women aren’t allowed to show that we can lead how can people say that we won’t be good leaders?
Here are other reasons that some women may not vote for Hillary Clinton, but the list is not all inclusive nor does it apply to all women.
2. Some women are jealous of Hillary Clinton because she has the personal freedom and determination that they lack. These women would never have the guts to stand up to the public scrutiny that Senator Clinton has, and hate her for being able to do so.
3. Some women feel comfortable with the societal restrictions on women and don’t want a change in the balance of power, so anyone who wants to change the balance in power is naturally an enemy.
4. Some women are Republicans so they won’t vote for her because of party affiliations; one legitimate reason for not voting for HRC.
5. Some women feel that they must vote along racial lines, and that is their prerogative, because in this election some women are voting along gender lines.
6. Some women are being pressured not to vote for a woman by their family, friends, church or other social group. (This is what I call “institutionalized sexism”.)
7. Believe it or not, a small percentage of women are chauvinists!
8. Some women have a “follow the crowd” mentality or think that “this is the way it’s always been, why fight it?” and without an example to go by, some women find it hard if not impossible to let go of the old ways.
With all this said, the fact that not enough women are supporting Hillary Clinton still perplexes me.
1. The information on The Fortune 500: http://www.CNNMoney.com
2. Quote about religious tolerance:
3. Statistics on Religious Identification:
City University of New York, the American Religious Identification Survey, 1990-2001
4. Ari Goldman, “Conservative Assembly votes to admit women as rabbis,” New York Time, 1985-FEB-14. Abstract at: http://select.nytimes.com
5. The Supreme Court: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/awmss5/judg_attys.html
6. Women in Congress:
7. Women in the House of Representatives and Senate:
8. Women Buddhist Monks:
“Sri Lanka revived the ordination of women in Theravada Buddhism in 1998.”-http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1814195.stm
Author’s Note: However, the first woman in Sri Lanka to be ordained wasn’t ordained until Feb 2002.