Carly Fiorina's Merit is Not that She's a Woman

I like Carly Fiorina. She is a fantastic communicator with a precise, measured delivery. She appears firm in her resolve to be a leader, and not just an entertaining candidate. I believe she is an excellent addition to the race for the White House. Her inclusion is not just a positive addition to the GOP field, but to the idea of a presidential campaign as a whole.
Like it or not, women are always outnumbered when it comes to running for president. This isn’t to say we’re not allowed to do so or have been discouraged, we just don’t choose that path. Some like Time, while observing Women’s Equality Day last week, concluded the lopsided nature of those in elected office means that gender equality is absent.

“…women still make up just about 20-25% of elected officials at the state and federal level.”

This is not inequality. True discrimination would be if women were barred from holding public office. This is not the case. Instead, the fault, if Time wishes to find one, is among women in the U.S. as a whole. If they would like to see more females on the ballot when they vote for president, then more females need to run. It really is as simple and non-War on Woman as that.

So, Carly is running for president, which I find refreshing. But not because she’s a woman and I feel all “girl power” when I see her next to all the men. It’s because she isn’t obsessed with her gender while trying to capture my vote. Her gender isn’t one of her merits, unlike what another female candidate has expressed recently.

When a man told Clinton that his 10-year-old daughter told him, “You guys have had it long enough,” Clinton seized the moment.

“Clearly, I’m not asking people to vote for me simply because I’m a woman. I’m asking people to vote for me on the merits,” Clinton said.

Then she directly addressed gender, adding: “I think one of the merits is I am a woman. And I can bring those views and perspectives to the White House.”

Hillary may believe her gender is deserving of praise and consideration for no reason other than its existence, but that’s just foolish. It’s refreshing that Carly does not have “I’m a girl” written on her list of merits, because it simply isn’t one. Using gender to prop yourself and your campaign up is as weak – and as sexist – as they come. While Hillary sees herself as a trailblazer for women nationwide, her focus shows how much she reverts back to the safety of gender politics rather than stands on her own.

In July, Carly Fiorina delivered a speech at the Reagan Library which was, without a doubt, extremely presidential. Confident and not supported by a teleprompter, she shared her outline for her presidency.

I see a world in dire need of American leadership. I see President Obama and Secretary Clinton always speaking in terms of ambivalence and shades of gray, offering false choices and raising the shadow of doubt about our will to lead. The next President of the United States must reestablish our leadership—she must speak with clarity, accept that some things are black and white and act with courage. She must be prepared to challenge the status quo and change the way things are—whether in Washington or around the world.

She was undoubtedly the star of the very first debate, standing out among the other contenders with lower poll numbers. Now it seems she’s secured a spot for the upcoming CNN debate to be held on September 16 after a rule change: “Now, any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 6 and September 10 will be included”. I am looking forward to Carly being included in the debate, but not because we share the same gender. No, I believe she is a strong contender who will hold her own among the other contenders, all of whom happen to be male. I believe she expresses her viewpoints and specifies the direction she would like to take us in a clear, concise way.

Carly Fiorina presents herself as a wholly serious candidate, unlike some Republican females of campaigns past. While there’s no denying that she brings another gender to the table, she is not fixated on that superficiality. This approach to her candidacy sets Carly apart and causes others, including myself, to evaluate her on everything other than gender.