Thursday, March 22, 2007

Women and the Politics of Morality
by Amy Caiazza

Some are calling this the "new year of the woman." We have already seen one woman, for the first time, occupy the Speaker's chair during a State of the Union address and another emerge as the frontrunner for her party's presidential nomination. Indeed, for women leaders in U.S. politics, things have been looking up in the last decade. We've seen an increase in the number of women governors and the second woman to serve as secretary of state.

Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice have given us new inspiration to think about what the world might be if women were in charge. In large part, this debate has focused on what women's leadership might mean for policy: Would we have universal child care? Higher quality education and universal health care? Paid family leave? If women were really in charge -- that is, if women's leadership, lives, and concerns were fully included in politics from the local to the national level -- we could see even more earth-shattering change. We might see our country pursue a set of values that would shift the focus of political debate altogether. Women have the potential to push America to embrace values of mutuality, shared responsibility, and concern for the weakest and most disadvantaged.


Caiazza, Ph.D., is director of Democracy and Society at the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Unbought and Unbossed: Following Shirley Chisholm's Path
by E. Faye Williams

As we celebrate Women's History this month, countless references will no doubt be made to the historic strides made by America's women politicians this year, when we saw, for the first time, the gavel of the Speaker of the House wielded by a woman, and a woman candidate emerge as the frontrunner for her party's presidential nomination. And it looks to be an historic year in Black political history, as well, as an African-American senator is touted as a serious contender for the same nomination. Indeed, these are historic precedents in all of American history.

But more than 30 years ago, one person embodied two "firsts," when Rep. Shirley Chisholm of New York threw her hat into the ring of presidential politics when she announced her 1972 run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Her slogan spoke to neither her race nor her gender, but to the state of U.S. politics in her time (and ours): "Unbought and Unbossed."


Williams is the national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Women's History - Still Being Written
by Martha Burk

As we approach International Women's Day, advocates of women's rights have a lot to celebrate. Here and abroad, women are making strides on terrain both old and new.

This March, leaders of the nation's women's organizations concurred that the month dedicated to history made by women needs a name that reflects not just the landmarks of the past, but the ongoing achievements of women as we advance toward equality. This year, we celebrate the third month of the year not as simply "Women's History Month," but "Women Making History Month."



Burk is Director of the Corporate Accountability Project for the National Council of Women's Organizations.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Moms Making History - and Policy
by Valerie Young

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz carries crayons in her purse. She also coordinates the pick-ups and drop-offs of her children's after-school activities. Nothing remarkable in this; certainly, millions of mothers do this every day. But this mother of three, a Florida Democrat, happens to be a member of the United States House of Representatives. And that makes it pretty remarkable indeed.

Not so long ago, mothers in the labor force were advised not to keep family photos on their desks, or the kindergarten art project tacked up over the file cabinet. Almost overnight, it seems, motherhood has emerged as an important employment asset, at least in the political arena. That's because most households in which children are being raised are run by a working mom; today 70 percent of households with children have all resident adults employed outside the home.



Young is the advocacy coordinator at the National Association of Mothers' Centers.