Hillary Rodham Clinton, a first lady turned senator turned almost-president, is now transforming herself again, this time into the nation’s top diplomat. But she is also back to a role she cannot seem to shake: a canvas for women’s highest hopes and deepest fears about the workplace.
As she pondered this week whether to trade her hard-won independence and elected office for a job working for a more powerful man, mothers and schoolteachers and law partners mulled in tandem with her. After eight years of building her own constituency, how could Mrs. Clinton surrender it? they asked. Is secretary of state a promotion or an acknowledgment that her political prospects are now limited? And ultimately, how well will her male boss treat her?
As news spread on Friday evening that Mrs. Clinton had decided to accept the job, so did a basic consensus: the assignment was probably a triumph for Mrs. Clinton, if a costly one.
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