Hillary Clinton’s life, in many respects, traces the arc of progress for women in American society. Her mother, Dorothy Rodham, was born in 1919, a year before the 19th Amendment gave women the vote.
It has taken a long, long time for that amendment’s promise of women’s full participation in American democracy to be realized. Mrs. Clinton moved it a big step closer this week, as she became the first woman nominated for the presidency by a major party.
Mrs. Clinton’s nomination — bringing women, barred first by law and then by custom, to the pinnacle of American politics — is to be celebrated as inspiration for young Americans, and as hope for women in nations and cultures that deny them the most basic opportunities. It is further proof that opening doors to women elevates and strengthens our nation.
At a moment when political discourse is divisive and dark, Mrs. Clinton acknowledged stiff challenges but summoned optimism in her call Thursday night for Americans to work together. “America is once again at a moment of reckoning,” she said. “Bonds of trust and respect are fraying,” she said. “We are cleareyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.”
Mrs. Clinton, who grew up in an era of few opportunities for women, revealed strength and tenacity building a career that spanned the world. Her education and work ethic eventually opened many avenues to her, and — despite forays into lucrative and sometimes regrettable pursuits like her corporate speech-making — she has always returned to a path of service.