Sharing in a historic moment

20160724_inq_dncvoices24z-d
Deisha Brahma (from left), Isabella Black, and Lea Hawthorne are members of the Alice Paul Institute's Girls Advisory Council. They said they believe it's important to have a female candidate and that it could influence the next generation.

The Inquirer asked women around the region for thoughts on the expected nomination of the first woman for president of the United States by a major party.

"There's not a lot of people you can look up to, especially in the political sense. Being able to see a woman in politics, someone as prominent as her - everyone knows her name. . . . Now I think it will be a lot more possible, that there will be a lot more women running.

Deisha Brahma, 16, a Burlington Township High School student and member of the Alice Paul Institute's Girls Advisory Council

"Personally, Hillary's not my candidate. But I think possibly having a female candidate opens a lot of doors for women in politics. But it could also be negative. If her term doesn't go well, it could close some doors for women in politics. People might not want another female president.

Isabella Black, 16, a student at Burlington Township High School, a member of the Alice Paul Institute's Girls Advisory Council, and a Bernie Sanders supporter

"Having a woman candidate for the first time is really big and important, and I don't know why it's taken so long. . . . Seeing a woman in a position like that would definitely influence the next generation.

Lea Hawthorne, 18, a Cherokee High School graduate and incoming freshman at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, member of the Alice Paul Institute's Girls Advisory Council

"I am proud that we live in a country that will nominate a woman to run for president; I want young women to be able to aspire to do great things, and I love that girls today will grow up thinking it's just the status quo.

Melinda "Mindy" Holman, chairwoman, Holman Automotive Group Inc. in Maple Shade, among top 15 dealers in the United States

"It is hard for me to believe despite all of the great accomplishments of this wonderful country that a woman has never been nominated for president of the United States. . . . [Hillary Clinton] got it the old-fashioned way: hard work, perseverance, and an unwillingness to give up despite all odds. Down comes the glass ceiling at long last. Hooray!

Judith von Seldeneck, founder and chairwoman of Diversified Search L.L.C., an executive search firm in Philadelphia

"We must have a woman president to understand women's issues such as poverty, homelessness, hunger (that's right, hunger right here in this country), violence, gender wage gap, inadequate maternal health care, paid maternity leave, affordable and competent child care, human trafficking/sex slavery. When we elect a woman president, no doubt she will tackle these issues. . . .

Donna Allie, president and founder of Team Clean Inc., a $19.5 million commercial cleaning business employing 700 

"It's exciting to think that three of the world's most powerful and progressive nations - Germany, England, and the United States - could all soon be led by women. In politics, as in restaurants, our dialogue is richer when more voices are represented.

Ellen Yin, founder and co-owner of High Street Hospitality Group, which operates Fork, High Street on Market, a.kitchen, and a.bar in Philadelphia, and High Street on Hudson in Manhattan's West Village

"Women are proven leaders, strong defenders of others and problem-solvers. Having a woman at the top of the ticket demonstrates our skills and crushes the discriminatory, demeaning practices of unequal pay and derogatory name-calling by some men who fail to appreciate women's contributions to this country.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane

"The first time I heard Hillary Clinton speak was at a union convention in 1995. I was sitting with other women leaders and rank-and-file members, and we all felt a connection to her. We looked at each other and said, 'This woman represents us.' We felt proud when she spoke about equality, women's rights, and workers' rights.

Laurel Brennan, secretary-treasurer of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO

"Before we break out the champagne, we need to remember women are still paid less than men for doing the same job. We need more women CEOs in corporate America, and we need more women holding paid board seats. . . . Our future is bright, and former Secretary Clinton reminds us all that anything is possible. #womenrock

Julie Coker Graham, chief executive, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

"Having a woman poised to become the presidential candidate of a major party shows how far we've come since March 1776 when Abigail Adams wrote her husband urging him to 'Remember the ladies.' Huzzah!

ZeeAnn Mason, chief operating officer, Museum of the American Revolution

"As a black woman I have experienced both racism and sexism in my life. . . . Come November, at the age of 30, I will have been fortunate enough to see the first black president and the first female president. While both of these candidates had to be far better than either of their challengers in order to make it, they will have paved a path for the black men and women of my generation to follow.

Nicole Allen White, cofounder, Pattison Leader Group, an organization dedicated to engaging millennials in the political process and a delegate for Clinton 

"Hillary Rodham Clinton's love for her mother resonates deeply with me. When she talks about her mother's difficult childhood, I see how protective she feels, and that is translated into shielding other young people from such a fate. My mother was orphaned as a child, and while she was warmly nurtured by her grandmother and extended family, the sense of abandonment was an undercurrent all her life. I know how that has shaped my worldview, and I similarly trace Hillary's passion about protecting the vulnerable.

Nina Ahmad, Philadelphia's deputy mayor for public engagement

"I have noticed that it's Trump and Hillary - using the first name of the woman, not her last name, which says something about how our society still relates to women: more personal, more familiar, as if we have permission to do that but are more formal with male leaders.

Maud Lyon, president, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

"Because women are more affiliative than competitive, this possibility gives me hope that we will cross the malignant partisan divide that has plagued Congress and stagnated legislative progress.

Marilyn Benoit, chief medical/clinical officer at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health

"During the primary, I was focused on the fact that Hillary Clinton is perhaps the most qualified, experienced presidential candidate in history. That she's a woman was a plus for me, but also a stark reminder that women often need to be smarter, harder-working, and sometimes just better than a man to compete for the same job.

Jane Slusser, chief of staff to Mayor Kenney

"When my older son was 3 years old, he knew two doctors, me and his pediatrician, who is also a woman. One of my friends asked him if he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. His answer was, 'No, only women can be doctors.' Role models matter.

Valerie A. Arkoosh, vice chair, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners 

"It's critical for girls to grow up knowing that they really can do anything, because they see women all around them doing those things - running for president, being astronauts, sitting on the Supreme Court, serving in the armed forces. We've come so far from my mother's day, when mother, teacher, and nurse seemed the only options!

Cathy Fiorello, chair, department of psychological studies in education, Temple University

"Pennsylvania has never had a woman governor or U.S. senator; our congressional delegation comprises all white males. That's not because we lack qualified, capable women; it's because we have work to do to expand pipelines to service. Hillary's nomination will inspire women and girls everywhere, and I'm excited about what that could mean for electing more women in Pennsylvania.

Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

"It is easier to stay focused on your way to your goals when you have seen someone else who looks like you do it. In the nearly 100 years since women in the U.S. gained the right to vote, other countries have elected women leaders. Now our American daughters can dream bigger, vivid dreams of reaching as far as ournation's highest office.

Leslie S. Richards, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

"The odds are really great that I am about to watch a woman leader, Hillary Clinton, become the first presidential nominee of a major political party, something that was so far from possibility when I began my career back in 1980 that it sounded like a pipe dream, certainly in my field then. . . . Whatever the outcome, women in our country have a new example to embrace and are no longer alone in whatever trailblazing path they choose to tread.

Allison Vulgamore, CEO, Philadelphia Orchestra

 "Presidential leadership transforms the way we see our country, ourselves, and how the world sees us. Geraldine Ferraro became the first female VP nominee in 1984, and I thought a woman would be president soon thereafter. Today, women make up less than 20 percent of U.S. legislators, a small percentage of CEOs, earn 20 percent less for equal jobs, and are far more likely to live in poverty than men. Having a woman in the White House is an opportunity to rethink the power divide in all systems, advance gender equality, elevate equal pay, and reduce discrimination. It's a critical start. And it's about time.

 

Maura McInerney, senior attorney, Education Law Center

"Seeing the first woman nominated for president is particularly sweet knowing the obstacles Hillary Clinton has overcome. Her nomination demonstrates that hard work and tenacity can pay off for women.

Jane Golden, executive director, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

"Theresa May is England's new prime minister, and Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, is noted as not just one of the most powerful women in the world but one of the most powerful people. Will the nomination of Hillary Clinton help girls born today see leadership as a possibility without question? Let's hope that it will.

Madeline Bell, president and CEO, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

"I totally trust Hillary Clinton. She supports every issue that is important to me, from civil rights to the environment to health care. . . . I'm thrilled, of course, that she's a female. Frankly, that's not the most important aspect.

Kathy Hogan, attorney, former Haddon Township deputy mayor, and longtime LGBT activist

"As I tell young women who almost always ask me, 'What's it like to be a woman in a man's world?' - don't ever let anyone tell you your gender dictates your ability to do exemplary work. I'm proud to be a role model for my daughter and other females who want to succeed in a job that may not have been previously considered possible for women.

Bonnie Clark, vice president of communications for the Phillies

 "Being the first woman major party candidate, she is going to be heavily scrutinized, and not just when it comes to her political views and agenda. The media will continue to criticize her for certain outfits, hairstyles, and makeup as a woman. There is a lot of pressure on her already to do her best because she will be the basis for how female major party candidates and possibly female presidents are viewed.

 

Flavia Scotto d'Antuono, 16, a student at Burlington Township High School 

Compiled by staff writers Jane M. Von Bergen, Julia Terruso, Maddie Hanna, Maureen Fitzgerald, and Stephan Salisbury.