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Hillary Clinton is making history as the first female presidential nominee for a major U.S. political party. But how big of a breakthrough is it to Utahns?

Some see it as significant, a milestone too long in coming.

Others are more ho-hum about it — and for a variety of reasons, ranging from their dislike of the candidate to their belief that gender and race barriers are eroding anyway.

Sheryl Ginsberg, a 67-year-old Millcreek Democrat, views the Clinton nomination as a promising step for women and the nation.

"I don't know why we are such a patriarchal society. We don't give the same credibility to women as we do men," she said. "Women bring something to the table men don't ... compassion and the ability to nurture."

The Salt Lake Tribune, in partnership with the Utah Public Insight Network, sought responses from readers regarding Clinton's historic run. Ginsberg was one of about 50 respondents to answer questions such as: "Have you ever doubted that a woman would become U.S. president in your lifetime?"

Ginsberg has. "I have seen how people take what women have to say in less regard," she said, pointing to Olene Walker, who succeeded Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt when he joined the Bush administration, only to fall short of gaining the GOP nod at her party's convention despite her "overwhelmingly high approval ratings."

Tess Davis, an unaffiliated voter from Salt Lake City and a supporter of independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, said the nomination packs historic value on its face but argued Clinton does not bring something extra to the post because of her gender.

Davis, who is in her 30s, said she is fortunate to have grown up in an era with greater gender equality than those of her mother and grandmother. She expects a woman someday to be elected president.

"One result of growing up in this more gender-egalitarian era," Davis said, "is that I feel very little pressure to cast my vote based on the gender of a particular candidate."

Nonetheless, Clinton's achievement will open more doors for women in politics, according to Lisa Browdy, a Salt Lake City Democrat.

Browdy, 52, has observed women in the political arena "get judged and criticized for their appearance, dress, tone of voice, marital-parenting status — where men would remain unscathed."

Clinton's experience is key for Browdy. She said she could not support lesser-qualified female candidates — such as Republican Carly Fiorina or former GOP vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.

By contrast, independent voter Jeff Greatorex dismisses Clinton's candidacy.

"The elections were filled with fraud, media bias and lies," said the 32-year-old Holladay resident. "[Women] are strong, competent and as equally capable as men."

But, he added, Clinton's nomination will do nothing for women, "because she didn't do it with integrity."

Melissa Melville notes other countries have had female presidents and premiers; the United States has not. Clinton's quest will change that dynamic, she said.

"Even conservative Utah women will get more of a voice and be less likely to restrain themselves when speaking for women's issues," she said. "Those of us who have been speaking will finally be heard ... our thoughts, ideas and frustrations must be considered and no longer brushed aside."

But Jolyn Schleiffarth, a self-described feminist, insists Clinton's nomination means little to her. The 35-year-old Salt Lake City resident has favored the Green Party, but supported Sanders.

"I consider it a step backward for feminism in that our first female president may be just another right-wing corporatist-imperialist," she said. "What a hollow victory for women, for feminism and for marginalized populations around the world."

Patrice Corneli, a 64-year-old Salt Lake City resident, said Clinton's nomination should be "epic," but added that she "doesn't know many Hillary supporters who are trying to make history by voting for a woman as president."

Corneli, a Democrat, believes the Democratic National Committee selected Clinton as the front-runner.

Nonetheless, she hopes that, if elected, Clinton will nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices "who can do good things for women."

A woman should have been elected president long ago, Corneli said. But, she added, "I just don't see why gender, per se, should matter."

— This story was informed by sources in the Utah Public Insight Network. To become a news source for The Salt Lake Tribune, go to