Hillary Clinton ignited a feminist movement. By losing.

Even those women who disliked Hillary-the-candidate or who backed her opponent Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary now credit the indignities and cynicism Mrs. Clinton faced in the 2016 election and her unexpected loss to Mr. Trump, an alleged sexual abuser, for the current moment.

We wouldn’t be here — black gowns at the Golden Globes, sexual assault victims invited to the State of the Union address, a nationwide, woman-led voter registration drive timed to the anniversary of the Women’s March — without Mrs. Clinton’s defeat.

And yet, for Mrs. Clinton, it’s the latest — and perhaps last — cruel twist in a public life full of them. Her loss to Mr. Trump helped ignite the kind of movement she’d once been poised to lead but that she now mostly watches from the sidelines.