I came across an article the other day that I have been thinking about ever since.
Here is the start of the article.
The woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white American mother and a black African father – here in the United States, a race-conscious country, she is considered black – she served as a state legislator for eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity.
Be honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the U.S. Senate? After less than one term there, do you believe she could be a viable candidate to head the most powerful nation on earth?
I read this and thought "You have got to be kidding me. There is no way that this person is ready to be president." Change the first paragraph to MAN. Behold Barack Obama who I would consider voting for. He is definitely a credible candidate in my mind.
As a woman, I am ashamed that my response to this article was what it was. Bias and discrimination can be so subtle, so insidious. What does it matter that the fictional candidate described is a woman? As a woman, how could I hold it against her and think that the male equivalent of her is ready while she is not? I have personally been granted wonderful opportunities in my life, likely both in spite of or because of being female. And yet, as a woman I have worried about facing bias, not being a source of it.
Gloria Steinem, the author of the above article (it’s worth reading the entire thing), has been a champion of women’s rights for decades. I was born after she’d discarded her playboy bunny ears, but not by much. I am grateful that she is still there writing to remind me of the subtle biases in our society and in me.