There is an argument that goes that we should vote for the person. A person's qualifications are more important than their race, their ethnic/religious affiliation, national origin, or anything else. It should be based on qualifications ... that is, unless it's a woman and then all that goes out the window.
Feminists used to whistle past the graveyard and came up with snappy one-liners such as "the best man for the job might be a woman."
I happen to remember how the term, "glass ceiling" was coined. During an informal meeting in 1978 of a group of Hewlett-Packard (HP) female middle managers, they collectively observed that while on paper, and in the policy manual, women were in the running for the top jobs, the trajectories were all out of whack.
Fresh graduates, men and women, started in roughly the same entry-level jobs and the first two promotions came along, until the title "manager." Men continued to progress, but none of the women had; not the fresh group nor the ones who had been at HP for a decade, could break past that. Men increased their area of responsibility. For the women it was a lateral series of jobs: manager, manager, manager, manager.
"It's like we're hitting a ceiling that no one seems to see - because it's made of glass ... a glass ceiling ..." It was the image of a balloon going up and hitting some unseen barrier, then skittering along.
Another woman at the meeting said that when she had been at the pharmaceutical giant, Merck, that she was a Manager, and she was invited to an annual meeting. There were about 20 men and two women and they broke for lunch. One of the more senior men said to her, "now you two women ... now don't sit together."
She gave him a warm grin. "We won't, if you men don't."
To many, this will sound like ancient history. Someone under 30 wasn't even born yet, yet something has happened and I think Penny Wit gave us some statistics that that are a touchstone to what has happened since the Women's Movement.
Penny Wit presents some data in his comment titled, It's already changing .... where he points to the gains women have made. This is encouraging.
In the mid-1970s, the top law schools were predominantly male. Depending on the exact school and exact year, women made up 15-25% of the enrollment. The number has moved up steadily until today the ratio is 50:50. In other professions, such as medicine, the number of female physicians has also followed this same trajectory.
It doesn't work to parachute a woman figurehead into a top slot. Carly Fiorina, whatever people might think over her decisions, was more or less accepted. She got a shot because people like Mary Cunningham paved the way and got crucified. Had a man been offered the same job and with credentials similar to Cunningham's, there would have been no flap.
We are coming along, and maybe one day we'll have more women on the Supreme Court. Maybe one day a woman who has, say, the qualifications of Clarence Thomas, will get a shot.
Until that day, we'll keep working our way up.