Bad A** Women in Politics - Event Review

April 10, 2013

A big thank you to everyone who came out to participate and discuss Bad** Women in Politics with us. We had a great discussion with our guest panel speakers who shared with us their favorite political women. The bada** nominations were terrific and we all had a great time discussing past and current issues about women, gender and the political arena.

Our first speaker was Lynn Sanders who spoke briefly about Monique Wittig, author of Les Guérillères. A novel widely considered as one of the great examples of feminist ideology. In it an army of women rise to power and through war finally attain peace by taking political and military power away from men.

Sanders also discussed Shirley Chisholm who in the 60’s rose to popularity and became the first African-American female to be elected and serve a term as congresswoman. She also became the first African-American female to run for the office of United States President in 1972. She ran her Presidential campaign without the support of feminist rights groups who said she was not middle-class enough. She was refused support from the NAACP who saw no interest in having her as president. Without any support she ran her campaign but eventually lost at the Democratic Convention.

Suzie McCarthy was also kind enough to attend our panel and she felt like Jeannette Rankin fit the bill of someone who deserved the bada** title. A lifelong pacifist, Rankin was the first female to be elected into the US Congress. During her times in office she opposed the United States involvement in both World Wars and even after retirement she led rallies opposing the Vietnam War. McCarthy reiterated how hard it was for Rankin, who was a pacifist, to vote against involvement in World War II even after the Pearl Harbor attack when the nation demanded revenge. With war sentiments being so strong in the nation, congressmen wanted to show a strong unified House. After Rankin cast her vote she was literally chased out of the House and, fearing for her life, had to hide in a phone booth where she waited for a police escort.

Our final panel speaker was Lawrie Balfour who gave us an interesting look into the life of Ida B. Wells. Born into slavery in Mississippi, Wells had a hard time staying silent about the mistreatment of African-Americans. Through her investigative journalism she discovered the organization behind lynchings. Wells came to realize that lynchings were not just a form of ‘street justice’ by an angry mob. By giving her witness reports through her writings she exposed that lynchings were used by local law enforcers and other city officials for control and intimidation of local black populations. Her publications later helped the US change by having pressure put on them by the international community.

By discussing bada** women in politics our panel helped us understand that women play an important role in effecting change. So who do you believe deserves to be called a Bada** Woman in Politics?

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