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Members of the Susan B. Anthony Memorial Unrest Home Womyn's Land Trust gather for a group discussion on presidential candidates, feminism, and environmental issues after their potluck dinner in celebration of SuBAMUH's 37th birthday Saturday evening. (EMILY MATTHEWS | PHOTO EDITOR)

Local women's commune reflects on Hillary Clinton's impact during presidential race

Editors's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the version that appeared in our weekly print edition.

Some women in Athens County have varying degrees of acceptance toward Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential nominee from a major political party.

Though women in Athens might have varying feelings about Clinton, M. Geneva Murray, director of the Ohio University Women’s Center, said Clinton’s campaign is still historically significant.

“Hillary Clinton being on the ticket means we’ve potentially moved on to a point where we can see a woman as president,” Murray said. “Whether it’s Hillary Clinton is a different story.”

The rest of the country showed similar views after a Langer Research study in August showed about 58 percent of women favored Clinton for president after the Democratic National Convention, compared to 35 percent of women planning to vote for the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

The women of the Susan B. Anthony Unrest Home, a local women’s commune, often come together to discuss feminism during a potluck dinner.

In the last discussion, the group shared concerned for the environment and wondered if Clinton has the same thoughts.

“(Clinton) is not where I’d like to her to be environmentally … but I think she’s been great for women’s rights around the world,” Sabra Robinson, a member of the group, said as she sat near a metal sign that read “even cigarette butts are litter.”

After dinner, the women gathered to talk about Clinton and the effects of feminism on the 2016 election.

“My hope is that some of her maternal instincts will seep into Capitol Hill somehow,” Molly Blair, a resident of the commune, said.

Though the entire group spoke in favor of women’s rights, the women held differing opinions about Clinton and how she rose politically.

Blair said she thought Clinton may have played “a man's game” during the race and wondered how much Clinton has compromised who she is.

As the storm prevailed, each woman grabbed a folding chair, turned on a flashlight and shared her feminist hopes and qualms.

The groups suggested everything is connected to feminism, connected many aspects of feminism to politics.

Jan Griesinger, co-founder of the group, said feminism is about a whole lot more than many realize.

“We’ve got the best government that money can buy,” Griesinger said, grasping the book that describes her friend’s life and accomplishments.

Griesinger held up a book with a picture of her best friend Mary Morgan, who also co-founded the group, holding her favorite protest sign ("U.S. Congress for sale") on the cover, written about Morgan's life.

Morgan died in January 2015, unable to see Clinton rise as the first woman candidate for a major political party, leaving her friends to discuss what the historic event means for future women during what would have been her 91st birthday.

Some members of the group attributed the conditions of the current election cycle to Clinton’s success.

“Even though I’m terrified of Trump, I honestly believe that his running against her is the only way that a woman would be elected at this point,” Cindy Zeck, a member of the Susan B. Anthony Memorial Unrest Home, said.

At the end of their conversation, the women were hopeful for change, but they were aware that more work will be needed in the future.

“I do believe more women will be elected (to the presidency),” Blair said.

OU’s Women’s Center, which is nonpartisan, would be “remised” if they didn’t recognize that Clinton being on the ticket was significant, Murray said.

“It always helps us to see to see people who look like us holding office,” Murray said.

She used President Barack Obama as an example of that, being able to say you can be a black man who holds the highest office in the U.S.

Murray added that society still has sexism and racism that needs to be addressed, but Clinton’s campaign is an opportunity to tell other women that they can think about politics in their future.

“You can do this, you can wear the shirt when you’re five that says future president and be female,” Murray said.


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