Five female lawmakers have announced their candidacy for the presidency in 2020 so far, a move that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is praising. However, she’s also warning the public on the sexism that will still plague the candidates throughout the election.
Clinton said on the podcast “TBD with Tina Brown” on Monday that she thinks it’s easier for female candidates now after her 2016 run, “but by no means, it’s not equivalent to the male candidates.”
The former secretary of state added that words like “likable” are still only being applied to women in the race.
“I’ve been in and around politics for a long time […] and there are a lot of men who are really unlikable who get themselves elected to very high positions,” Clinton said. “But I don’t understand fully why the press just sort of defaults to these sloppy, unfair characterizations.”
Those characterizations are something that Clinton said she’s all too familiar with, and she’s worried about the women in this race:
“How does a woman stand up for herself on the biggest stage in the world without, No. 1, looking aggressive — maybe a little bit angry — that somebody is behaving like that, being willing to go toe-to-toe when there are so few memories embedded in our collective DNA where women do that?”
“How do you get on this kind of Goldilocks path where you’re not too strong and you’re not too weak, you’re not too aggressive and you’re not too passive?” she later added. “This is still a problem for women on the public stage.”
But the former first lady guessed that this time around there will be power in numbers. Clinton was the only woman running on the Democratic side in the last presidential election. Now there’s five; Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
“I think the fact that we have all these women running now is all to the good because then it’s not just one woman and you hold her to an impossible standard because she’s the only woman out there,” Clinton said. “Now, look, these women have different styles, they have different public speaking approaches, so now maybe we’ll begin to get a little more understanding that women can be different, too.”