One of the things that I love about a brand new year are all the possibilities. That's the great thing about resolutions- they aim to give us hope in everything we can accomplish in the year ahead.
But 2016 is different and in Washington, DC you can feel that fact in the air. This could be the election year that America finally elects a woman to the White House.
Whether the former First Lady, New York Senator, or Secretary of State wins or not is insignificant because regardless of the election outcome, for women and girls in America and around the world, just the existence of Clinton's Presidential campaign encourages women to reach for positions of power in general and in government. The latter message is especially important and much needed in the United States.
America currently ranks 75th out of 189 elected governments in the world for female representation in government, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The percentage of women holding statewide and state legislative offices in the US is under 25 percent. On a local government level, only twelve of the 100 largest cities have female mayors.
In the current 114th Congress, there are 20 women who serve as senators and 84 women who serve as representatives. That's only 19.4 per cent of the total 535 seats in Congress. And of course, to top it all off, the U.S. has never had a female Head of State.
These are embarrassing numbers for anyone, but especially the US who love to harp on to the world about women's rights. And in a country where laws and legislation mean so much, it's frightening to see how little power women have on Capitol Hill.
It may be hard especially for South Asians to understand why it has been so difficult for America to let a woman lead. We have voted in women to political power repeatedly. Taking into consideration our deep love and tradition of dynastic politics, South Asian nations from Pakistan to Sri Lanka to India and Bangladesh are light years ahead of the U.S. in this regard.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), India leads the pack in female leadership in government by women as either president or prime minister for 21 out of the past 50 years (Indira Gandhi was prime minister for a total of 16 years between 1966 and 1984; Pratibha Patil served as president from 2007 to 2012).
But America is getting ready to play catch up.
"There's been a real change in terms of women's leadership--women candidates are the standard bearers for the Democratic Party, women's issues are front and center, and it's happening in the media," Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY's List, told Jessica Valenti in a recent interview.
Ultimately, Hillary Clinton winning the White House has more to do with her just being a woman. This brings us to the gender Catch 22 that plagues Clinton's Campaign--winning the women's vote without running on being a woman while it is hard to ignore that her Presidency would be historic from the get go just by the fact that she is a woman.
All that aside, Hillary is the best candidate regardless of what happens on the Republican side, whether Donald Trump gets the nomination or not, and consequently ends the world as we know it.
America needs Hillary Clinton as President. And my new year's resolution is to believe this will be the year we vote her in.