Three Lessons About #WomenAtWork Learnt From The US Presidential Debate

Last updated 30 Sep 2016 . 4 min read

 Lesson 1: We are engineered to dislike successful women. Hilary Clinton, with her power suits and no nonsense leadership style, attracts the ire of many – not because she is less qualified, but because she is who she is.

Why do we dislike Hilary so much even when she CONTINUES to outshine, out-honest, and out-perform her opponent?

This article has a lot to say about it:

“It's time to stop pretending that this is about substance. This is about an eagerness to believe that a woman who seeks power will say or do anything to get it. This is about a Lady MacBeth stereotype that, frankly, should never have existed in the first place. This is about the one thing no one wants to admit it's about.”

We just don’t like women being unapologetically strong and unabashedly seeking a position of power.

In the world of work this translates to: women are welcome as long as they don’t step into the limelight “too much” or actually make it to the C-suite.

Lesson 2: A woman will do double the homework, come well prepared and still be not extended any benefit of the doubt.



The number of times Hilary Clinton was interrupted with baseless retorts during the debates was appalling. In addition, Donald Trump wasn’t really able to answer any question well – even those about his supposed tax evasion, sexism, and racism. He wasn’t prepared.

Hillary showed her clout over and over during the debate. In fact, as a former Secretary of State, she is OVERQUALIFIED as per the job requirements to be President, and probably to debate with Trump. Imagine when you were making decisions about war and peace – to be questioned about the workings of one measly country. ESPECIALLY when you have experience in the White House and Senate before.

Lesson 3:  Our Patriarchal mindsets will set attach a woman’s identity to her marital status, her relationships and family.



“What is Bill Clinton going to be called if Hillary wins the White House?” is a topic of discussion at every water cooler in America. We care more about her relationship in and out of the bedroom with her husband and former president  - surmising that since she’s such an alpha female, they must not be having fun together.

Women who reach the upper echelons of power not only have their qualifications and overall fitness to lead questioned, but also their ability to make a home, mother, and be a good wife to their partners. Why do we see these leadership capabilities as so black and white?  If a woman is a leader of the free world (or a corporation, or her own startup) can she not also be a good partner and mother. Junta seems to think not. I think Hillary is going to prove us all wrong.

What do you think of these lessons? Do they appear in your own work experience? Share with us in the Career Connect Forum.  







Sairee Chahal
Sairee is the Founder of - a platform connecting women to corporates and offers career opportunities, resources, mentorship. A believer in work-life redesign, serial entrepreneur, mentor, an occasional writer and mother of an 8-year-old, Sairee is India’s foremost women at work evangelist. She earlier co-founded Fleximoms and also worked with CII, Heidrick and Struggles. In 2000 she set up Newslink Services, world’s first newspaper for mariners. A winner of the Devi Award 2014, and a L’oreal Award nominee, Cartier Alumni and TED speaker, Sairee has an M.Phil in International Relations from JNU

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