Shattered Glass

The explosive sound of the glass ceiling shattering was music to my ears. I'd hoped it would happen in my lifetime. And then it did. Wow!

We waited a long time.

It took one hundred years of protest for women to gain the right to vote with the passage of the nineteenth amendment in 1920. It took another ninety-six years for the nomination of the first woman to become a major party candidate for President of the United States.

And now, for the first time, a woman is center stage. No longer is a woman's place only at her husband's side, beaming up at him with adoring eyes. Today, she is front and center, and he is extolling her.

When I grew up, a boy in the class was usually elected president and a girl vice-president. Back then, that seemed about right. Even today, at the yellow and black crosswalk signs - an older brother escorts a younger sister across the street. Now, she can also lead the way.

It couldn't have happened without Margaret Chase Smith, who, in 1964, became the first woman to seek the Republican nomination; without Shirley Chisholm, a black Congresswoman who sought the Democratic nomination in 1972; and Geraldine Ferraro, who actually accepted the Democratic nomination for vice-president in 1984.

We hold hands with each of them: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; and Abigail Adams, who wrote to her husband, John, while he was in Philadelphia working on the Constitution: "Remember the Ladies." And still the ladies were forgotten.

Not now. Hillary Clinton is the first, but will not be the last, to smash the glass ceiling - and her breakthrough will enable Republican women as well to reach the apex of power. Regardless of party, many women will now stand a little taller as they care for their children, or work at their office desks, or speak out for their rights.

No matter how passionately we believed that this day would come, I had to see it to believe it.

Seeing women like Angela Merkel of Germany and Theresa May of the UK rise to the top changes what leadership looks like.

Yes, Virginia - and Lisa, Jane, Julia, Sarah, or Kimberly, you can grow up to be President.