The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

January 11, 2008

Today’s women would consider a female president

DANVILLE — Could a woman become president of the United States?

Why not?

That was the attitude of several women interviewed Thursday at Danville Area Community College as they signed up for classes or went about their work.

“I think a woman can handle it,” Jervanna Stanciel of Danville, a student, said. “A woman would make a good president — why not? It’s equal opportunity.”

Other women stopped by the Commercial-News made similar comments.

Their positive reaction toward the possibility of a female president is a sharp contrast from women’s views expressed 45 years ago.

In November 1963, the Commercial-News asked several women voters whether the country was ready for a woman president. The issue arose when Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith announced she was considering entering presidential primaries the following year.

One woman was quoted in that story as saying: “Women ought to leave this headache to the men — we’re not mentally able to take it.”

Another said: “It would be a rare woman who would or could acquire the wisdom, experience and capabilities to become president. … We find it only natural to look to a man for leadership.”

A homemaker said, “A woman is not suited emotionally or physically for the demands of that high office.”

Another said, perhaps jokingly, that a female leader would have to tell the truth about her age.

What a difference 45 years makes.

Earlier this week, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, brought the possibility of a woman leader into focus when she won the Democratic primary in New Hampshire.

Women interviewed by the Commercial-News were asked about the possibility of a woman president in general, not specifically Clinton, although some brought up her name.

Belinda Dalton-Russell, associate vice president of student services at DACC, said that personally, she would like to see a woman president. “Not just a female, but a person who’s qualified who can guide us through the issues,” she said.

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