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2008年6月12日 (木)


2008/6/12 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 11 (IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)

EDITORIAL: Clinton's withdrawal


The term "glass ceiling" first gained currency in the United States to denote invisible barriers in society that limit the advancement of women beyond a certain level in the established hierarchy. The office of the U.S. president lies beyond the ultimate glass ceiling, and Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to reach it. But the quest ended for the New York senator last Saturday, when she conceded defeat in the Democratic primaries and withdrew from the presidential race.



(denote=~を意味する) (hierarchy=階位、上位の位) (quest=探索、探求、追求、冒険) (concede=自分の負けを公式に認める)

"Although we weren't able to shatter the highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it," Clinton told her supporters in her concession speech.


(shatter=ガラスなどを粉々に粉砕する、砕く) (concession=譲歩、敗北などを認める)

She obviously meant to stress the fact that she had won as many as 18 million popular votes, which was certainly no mean feat. We also presume she wanted to share her triumph as well as her disappointment with her supporters: She had come so close to being elected the first female president of the United States, but that was not to be.


(be no mean feat=~は至難のわざである)

Clinton called the primaries a "turning-point election." Her duel with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the first African-American with a realistic chance of winning the presidency, opened a new page in the nation's political history. Regardless of the result, both have successfully challenged society's racist and sexist barriers.


primaries =primary=予備の、米国の大統領予備選挙)

In recalling her campaign, Clinton noted: "I am a woman, and like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious." She also said that earlier in the primaries, she was repeatedly asked if a woman could serve as commander in chief.



Christine Todd Whitman, a former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency who served as New Jersey governor from 1994 to 2001 and is one of the best-known Republican women politicians, recalled the hurdles she experienced in an Op-Ed piece she contributed to The New York Times last weekend. She said of Clinton: "When Mrs. Clinton made points forcefully, people called her shrill, not bold and determined. When (she) teared up, she was labeled weak."



(recall=振り返る) (shrill=辛らつな、するどい この言葉は悪い意味で使われることが多い) (bold=勇気のある、度胸のいる、挑戦的な)

Obviously, Clinton's defeat cannot be attributed to her gender alone. Her high-profile status and experience as a former first lady worked against her and ultimately cost her the nomination. She was perceived as the "status quo candidate," as opposed to Obama, who stood for "change."


(gender=性、性別) (status quo=現状)

Women and men are supposed to be equal in the United States, but this is not necessarily the case in real life. It was only last year that Nancy Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House--a position that makes her second in succession to the presidency after the vice president. Only 17 percent of House members are women, which places the United States 83rd in the world in such rankings.


Where women in politics are concerned, much of the rest of the world is way ahead of America. In Scandinavia and Asia in particular, women presidents and prime ministers are quite common. In Chancellor Angela Merkel's Germany, which ranks 17th in the world, women account for 32 percent of the Bundestag.



Japan is pathetic. Not only has there never been a woman prime minister, but only 9 percent of Lower House legislators are female. Japan ranks a lowly 135th in the world.



Neighboring South Korea has revised its election system to require that at least half of the candidates in proportional representation districts be women. As a result, South Korea has quickly overtaken Japan. The proportion of female lawmakers in South Korea now stands at 14 percent.



When half the population is female, it makes every sense to consider talented and capable women for public office. We wonder when Japan will get its Hillary Clinton.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 11 (IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)

朝日新聞 6月11日号 (英語版 2008年6月12日発行)


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