Hillary Clinton is losing women voters in large numbers, and not just the millennials. Longtime feminists too.
This is my message and prayer for Hillary Clinton tonight at the Democratic Debate: Hillary, please talk tonight about your record on women’s rights and tell us more about how, when you are President, you will stand for women.
Talk to us about the necessary movement to advance the rights and opportunities of women and girls here in the U.S. and around the world. Talk to us about how it requires every one of us to be involved. Talk to us about how this work is far from finished. Talk to us about how every single one of us can make our own contribution.
Remind us again about how, after you made that speech in Beijing in 1995 at the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women where you declared (along with women representatives from 189 countries), “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s right are human rights,” the world finally started to listen.
Talk to us about how since that time, we have seen change. Talk to us about how we’ve passed laws prohibiting violence against women. Talk to us about how more women have been elected into leadership to lead communities and countries. Talk to us about the strides made in closing the gaps in health and education for women and girls around the world.
Then talk to us about how, despite all of this progress, we are still not there.
Remind us that secondary school still remains out of reach for so many girls around the world. Remind us that 50 percent of the countries around the world still have no laws against domestic violence. Remind us that an estimated 1 in 3 women around the world still experience violence.
Acknowledge for us that despite the reduction in maternal mortality over the years, far too many women are denied access to reproductive healthcare and safe childbirth.
Remind us that all the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much unless they are enforced. Stake your ground when you say that rights have to exist in practice, and not just on paper. Remind us that laws have to be backed up by resources and political will.
Talk to us about how deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. Talk to us about how we do this.
Talk to us about how unequal pay, the lack of quality, affordable childcare, inflexible and unfair work schedules, and the lack of guaranteed paid family leave is destroying us as country — not just economically, but from the level our souls.
Remind us that when women are strong, families are strong, and that when families are strong, countries are strong.
Remind the men that if it was their wife, their sister, their daughter, or their mother who was getting shortchanged or taken advantage of at work, they would suffer, their kids would suffer, and their family would suffer.
Remind the men that when women are held back, the country is held back.
Then remind them that when women get ahead, everyone gets ahead.
Talk to us about sexual assault, and how this holds women back in a big way. Then talk to us about how every woman deserves to have safety and security in her life.
Talk to us about your mom, and the intense challenges she went through being abandoned by her parents, and how she was able to overcome them. Talk to us about how this affected you when you found out about her secret (to you) childhood.
Talk to us about about how women and girls need to be surrounded by people who believe in them and lift them up to find their path and fulfill their potential.
Talk to us about how women can be champions for change.
Remind us of the women from all over the world who have become drivers of progress and makers of peace.
Talk to us about how, when women come together, they have the strength to reach across ancient divides.
Remind us that when women come together, they become empowered, not only on behalf of themselves, but on behalf of the world.
Hold your ground Hillary, as you have done before, when you tell us that the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century.
And not just for women, but for everyone.
Talk to us, Hillary, about being a woman, trying to make your way in a “man’s world.”
Most of all, talk to us in your authentic voice.
You’ve done this before. You can do it again.
Speak to us Hillary. Speak to women.
The Sisterhood is waiting.
You don’t have to do this alone.
It’s time to trust us.
Tabby Biddle is a women’s rights advocate, writer, and leadership coach, specializing in helping women find their voice. She is the author of the bestselling book, Find Your Voice: A Woman’s Call to Action. She lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband, son and kitty cat. Learn more at tabbybiddle.com.
*This blog was first published on The Huffington Post.