Election Day.

I’m not a politically outspoken woman. In fact, talking about politics genuinely makes me uncomfortable. It’s not because I’m uninformed or because I lack an opinion or because my belief system is weak. But the truth is much more simple: I believe that every person has the right to their own opinions, even they don’t align with mine. Some people say that’s absurd. But it’s who I am, and it’s not likely to change.

With that disclaimer aside and with the acknowledgement that this has been the most contentious election of my lifetime, I’ve felt waves of pride wash over me today, an emotion I didn’t expect to feel as strongly as I have. And here’s why.

While it’s sometimes been painful to see people battle their opinions out with those of opposing political views on various forms of social media, it’s been encouraging to see my generation researching, understanding and sticking up for what (and who) they believe in. I’ve been thrilled at the bombardment of “I Voted” selfies that have flooded my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It means that people aren’t being lackadaisical, but rather taking the time out of their day – maybeΒ a few minutes, maybe a few hours – to cast their vote. And I’m proud of that.

Secondly, regardless of political affiliation, I feel proud today to be a woman. In a time not so long ago, women, even as citizens, were not granted the right to vote. Yet today, a woman’s name is on the ballot to be the next President of the United States. No matterΒ the results of this election, this marks an extraordinary milestone for women across the nation; we’ve come a long way.

So, I hope you’ll join me in casting your vote today – for whomever it is that represents what’s most important to you – because all of our voices matter. And I hope that when the sun rises tomorrow and a new President has been elected, you’ll remain proud to be an American, regardless of the outcome.