She did it. Hillary Rodham Clinton may divide public opinion of US voters, but one thing that is certain is that in the last 24 hours, she moved one step closer to shattering the “highest, hardest glass ceiling there is.” Almost eight years after she suspended her campaign and threw her support behind then-senator Barack Obama, Clinton officially became the first female presidential nominee of any major party, a historic milestone and an incredible accomplishment.
She has work to do and challenges ahead before voters hit the polls in November, but Clinton has already broken boundaries by the nomination alone; it is she who can tell future generations of impressionable woman, that yes, if you work hard and dream big, someday you too could potentially be President of the United States. Not forgetting, she has the support of Michelle Obama and naturally, there’s no denying her political experience up to this point.
Below are five milestones this potential future president has reached on the long road to her historic nomination.
She broke boundaries from an early age
In 1969, she became the first student (ever) to deliver a commencement address at Wellesley College in the US. The women’s college didn’t have a tradition of student commencement speakers. But by the time the class of 1969 was nearing graduation, an activist-minded student body demanded to have a student speaker to represent it at the ceremony. After her speech was printed in LIFE magazine that same year, she had already started to become somewhat of an icon.
Her commitment to women and girls goes way back
Talking about women’s issues may be the norm now, but Clinton has been working on these issues her whole life. When Clinton was in high school, she volunteered with her church youth group to babysit the children of migrant labourers. From there, volunteered at Yale’s Child Study Center, learning about new research on early childhood brain development, as well as New Haven Hospital, where she took on cases of child abuse and the City Legal Services, providing free legal service to the poor. Upon graduation from law school, she served as staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Arkansas, she co-founded the group Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. And all of this was before she became first lady and secretary of state, both platforms she used to advance women’s empowerment and the well-being of children worldwide.
She suffered her share of career setbacks, but always bounced back
At the ages of 13 and 27, then-Hillary Rodham applied for and was rejected for two roles. At 13, she wrote NASA requesting to be accepted into its astronaut program. She was rejected due to her gender. At 27, she tried to join the Marines but was allegedly turned away for being a woman, having poor vision and being “too old.” Given her landmark accomplishment today, this is a woman to has mastered the skill of artfully bouncing back.
To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want—even president. Tonight is for you. -H pic.twitter.com/jq7fKlfwGV
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 8, 2016
She champions equal rights
A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on
Lena Dunham rightfully featured Clinton in her Lenny Letter where she was proud to call herself a feminist. “I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman, of whatever age but particularly a young woman, says something like, “Well, I believe in equal rights, but I’m not a feminist.” Well, a feminist is by definition someone who believes in equal rights! I’m hoping that people will not be afraid to say — that doesn’t mean you hate men. It doesn’t mean that you want to separate out the world so that you’re not part of ordinary life. That’s not what it means at all! It just means that we believe women have the same rights as men, politically, culturally, socially, economically. That’s what it means.”
I believe that women deserve the same rights as men in every aspect of our economy and our society, here at home and around the world. I’ve devoted a lot of my public life to advocating for women’s rights being human rights, and making the case that we have to do everything we can, through laws, regulations, culture, to change the still-existing stereotypes that hold women back.
She will inspire other women to run
A study found that electing a woman to statewide office could have double or more the impact of a future recruiting campaign. “Women in powerful positions aren’t just serving as role models to little girls — they’re normalising politics for adult women who may need a little nudge,” according to the results. Clinton will be actively playing a part to ensure this becomes a reality; the New York Times reported that she plans to ensure that at least 50 percent of her Cabinet is made up of women – in the past, women have only made up between a quarter and a third of members. This would mean eight out of the 16 official Cabinet posts would be occupied by women in a potential Clinton presidency — double the number of Cabinet posts held by women during Obama’s or Bush’s tenures. Only 30 women have ever held a Cabinet post at all so if this takes effect; it will be revolutionary.