Third-grader Gracie Ceja was waiting at the doctor’s office when she asked her mom why there were no female United States presidents.
The 8-year-old, who likes Taylor Swift and soccer, had been learning about U.S. presidents in school and was doing her own research on the nation’s leaders. After watching videos in the waiting room, she realized all of the commanders in chief had one thing in common.
“That’s when I told that there was going to be a (female) candidate that might run for office – Hillary Clinton,” Ceja’s mother Irazema Rodriguez said. “Then she wanted to start inquiring about Hillary Clinton, and she wanted to write her a letter because she wanted to wish her good luck.”
In Ceja’s letter to Clinton she congratulated the former secretary of state on her career and laid down her knowledge of notable women in history. Although Rodriguez helped fine-tune the spelling and grammar, the content was solely the 8-year-old’s.
“It’s time for the United States (to) open its eyes and allow for women the time to shine,” wrote the Escobar/Rios Elementary student. “Women have paved the course of this country and it is now the perfect time to be governed by a female chief executive.”
She continued to explain her advocacy for women’s rights and called herself Clinton’s No. 1 supporter.
It took her a little more than three weeks to write her letter in October 2014 and they finally mailed it off in January 2015. Shortly thereafter, Ceja had response from the former first lady.
Clinton thanked Ceja for her support and reminded her to continue stay informed and pursue her interests.
“Here at home and around the world we must do our best to ensure that all people have the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential,” Clinton wrote. “As I weigh the decision before me, please know that I appreciate your enthusiastic support and encouragement, and that I am cheering you on for a future of great success.”
Before her inquiry at the doctor’s office, Rodriguez had not discussed the gender issue with her daughter, but said that she has always believed in equality of the sexes.
Ceja is a twin and has two other sisters in her household. She responds to her mother with a “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am,” and has zero tolerance when it comes to bullies.
“Sometimes they make fun of me at school,” she said softly. “You should not be a bully. You should be a good friend so that all the kids can be friendly and they could be good achievers.”
Ceja said it makes her sad that no women have been able to secure the presidential role, but hopes that if Clinton decides to run, and if she wins, it will allow for more women to be U.S. leaders.
“I think that boys and girls are equal,” Ceja said. “They’re able to do the same things that males can do. They’re the same in abilities.”