Hillary Clinton Reclaimed The Gender Card In The Greatest Way Possible For Equal Pay Day

Happy Equal Pay Day! April 12 symbolizes how far into this year a woman must work in order to earn the same amount of money a man in the same job earned in 2015. Yes, a delightful four extra months. On Tuesday morning, Glassdoor hosted a round table discussion with guest speaker Hillary Clinton on pay equality. And the former secretary of state already knew that, yes, critics would probably accuse her of (ugh) playing the "gender card" again. But Clinton showed that she didn't care. She even brought up those accusations in the best way: "If talking about equal pay ... is playing the gender card, then deal me in!" It's a clever example of owning her womanhood, and it's especially powerful on Equal Pay Day.

In her opening statement, Clinton joked that she already talked about pay equality every day, thus inviting the "gender card" charges. Though she referred to pay equality as "one of the biggest issues that will come at the forefront of our political lives," she flaunted a yes-we-can attitude. When later asked about the future of pay equality, Clinton said, "I'm actually optimistic." Her presentation of such cool and assured confidence was a statement in the face of those "gender card" dealers.

Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

However, she also added in a bit of her more signature pragmatic caution:

But I'm also very focused so we don't lose the impetus behind this conversation ... I am optimistic only because we have conversations and events like these.

This isn't the first time she has addressed the "gender card" accusations. At a Clinton rally at New York City's Apollo Theater last month, she expressed the same sentiment, and it was almost word-for-word what she said at Tuesday's round table: "If fighting for equal pay and paid family leave is playing the gender card, then deal me in!" But it's just as powerful in its second iteration. Last summer, she also gave a variation in response to Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky's "gender card" claim in a campaign video:

'There she goes again with the women’s issues.' Well, I’m not going to stop, so get ready for a long campaign.

Speaking about being a woman has been a source of controversy — and sometimes criticism — for Clinton during her presidential campaign. Beyond McConnell's remarks, Donald Trump (Trump being sexist? Shocking!) said last January in a CBS interview that "she’s constantly playing the woman card. It’s the only way she may get elected.” But Clinton's words at the Glassdoor round table — and the Apollo Theater — show her keen awareness of such sexism and her ability to actually use it to her advantage.

On helping women to close the wage gap, Clinton said, "I hope we can create more of a sense of solidarity, if you will," to loud applause. In reclaiming "playing the gender card" as a positive — a sign that you're committed to equal pay, better work policies, and a host of other benefits for women and men — I think Clinton definitely created a sense of solidarity for herself as well.