• Stefan Postles/Getty, Stefan Postles

    Bad Buzz

    Sexist Press, Fewer Female Leaders

    Media around Gillard, Pelosi, and Clinton discourages women from politics

    One would assume that greater visibility of female political leaders would encourage women to run for office. But given the added—and many times uncalled-for—media scrutiny female political leaders face, women often see them as examples of why not to seek candidacy. A recent survey conducted by the University of Adelaide and YWCA reveals that Australian women are more hesitant to run for office after Prime Minister Julia Gillard's run-ins with bad press. According to the survey, 8 out of 10 women over the age of 31 are less likely to pursue a career in politics while 57 percent of women between 18 and 21 years old felt discouraged by the press surrounding Ms. Gillard. The women surveyed noted most negative reception was not based on the Ms. Gillard's policy decisions or leadership abilities, but on her style and appearance—a marked difference to the media reception afforded to her male peers. The findings echoed former House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's response to The Shriver Report's statistics on the gap in female political leadership in the U.S. “If you reduce the role of money in politics and increase the level of civility in debate, more women will run for office,” Pelosi said. Just today, TIME Magazine released its latest cover featuring Hillary Clinton. The article chronicles Mrs. Clinton's apparently inevitable, although still unconfirmed, presidential ambitions, with cliche hallmarks of female political leadership: a pantsuit and a seemingly dangerous heeled shoe with a helpless man dangling behind. The social media response has been one of understandable outrage. This viral image of Clinton aboard a C-17 headed to Libya, sunglasses on and Blackberry in hand, better depicts unstoppable leadership, or at least one that women can actually aspire to. 

  • Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on July 18, 2013. (Win McNamee/Getty)

    Modern Suffragists

    Pelosi Sweats for Women

    Her new push may be a rehash of old issues, but they still need solutions, reports Eleanor Clift.

    It was 90-plus degrees outside Thursday, the hottest, stickiest day so far of Washington’s summer, as inside the Capitol, Nancy Pelosi marshaled her troops for the launch of the Democrats’ new economic agenda for women. “We’ll be efficient,” she promised. “Hydrate first, then go outside and make our point. Whatever the weather, women can take the heat.” Standing on the Capitol steps in the midday sun, Democratic women lawmakers and a few hardy male colleagues looked like modern-day suffragists, their banners held high proclaiming pay equity, work-family balance, and child care in the signature purple color of the suffragist movement.

    These issues are not new. Indeed they’re so familiar to women activists that Judith Lichtman, sweltering in the heat and humidity, marveled at how they’re the same causes she championed 40 years ago when she founded what became the National Partnership for Women and Families. With the Republicans in charge in the House, there is no chance that a progressive legislative agenda geared to the interests of women could pass. “But If you don’t start a national conversation, it will never happen,” she said. And there is reason to believe that these well-worn issues, redesigned to appeal to a new generation of women in the workplace, could have political impact.

  • Steve Helber/AP; Win McNamee/Getty


    Pelosi to Bachmann: ‘Who Cares?’

    About Bachmann’s comments on the DOMA ruling.

    As news of the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act swept the nation, many Tweeters, politicians, and celebrities commented on the decision. One of those people, Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, said, “No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.” In other words, she was livid. But when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked about Bachmann’s statement and how it depicts the opposition to the ruling, she simply said, “Who cares?” Pelosi understands ain’t nobody got time for that.

  • House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks about the re-introduction of the Violence Against Women Act during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol January 23, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty, Win McNamee)

    Fighting Words

    Dems, GOP at It (Again!) on VAWA

    You’d think, writes Michelle Cottle, that Congress at least could agree on violence against women. Think again.

    Much of the Beltway was still nursing an inaugural hangover when lawmakers gently but firmly waded back into the so-called war on women. Last Tuesday, Democrat Patrick Leahy and Republican Mike Crapo announced legislation aimed at reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. The following day, House Democratic leaders followed suit, hosting a press conference to tout an identical bill by Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore—and, while they were at it, smack their Republican colleagues for failing to re-up the bill last year. As Nancy Pelosi was happy to remind voters, “House Republicans refused to bring the Senate's bipartisan bill to the floor, leaving millions without a critical line of defense against domestic violence.”

    Her challenge was the latest volley in a battle begun during the superheated election cycle. First passed in 1994—with then-senator Joe Biden riding point—VAWA was reauthorized twice without drama. It was considered a no-brainer vote, a way for members of both parties to join hands and express their opposition to, well, violence against women. But last April, when the Senate handed its reauthorization bill off to the House, Republican members balked at three new provisions: one expanded protections for gays and lesbians, another did the same for Native Americans, and a third covered undocumented immigrants. Citing various objections to the expansions, House conservatives promptly countered with a pared-down bill that stripped out all three. The resulting uproar was less a legislative debate than a public cage match, with Democratic congresswomen leading the charge. “As chilling and callous as anything I’ve ever seen come before this Congress in modern times,” declared Rep. Carolyn Maloney at a May presser, while Rep. Judy Chu declared the House version the “Open Season on Violence Against Women Act.” Lickety split, what was once a circle-up-and-sing-“Kumbaya” issue became an election-year football, with both teams shrieking that the opposition was trying to score partisan points on the backs of battered women.

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a democrat of California, arrives for a House Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss the legislation that will blunt the effects of the "fiscal cliff" before a rare New Year's Day session on January 1, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

    Nancy Pelosi

    ‘The Toughest Person in the Room’

    Does the minority leader wield the real power in the House now? Pelosi deflects the question, but many say yes. By Eleanor Clift.

    When fiscal cliff legislation passed with mainly Democratic votes, Republicans griped, “Who’s the speaker?” It was humiliating for the GOP majority to play the handmaiden to minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Asked if the lopsided vote makes her the de facto speaker of the House, Pelosi demurred, coyly saying “not quite,” and reveling in her renewed clout. After the Democrats failed to regain control of the House in last year’s election, Pelosi appeared headed for a largely symbolic role as leader of the minority party in a chamber where the majority rules with an iron hand.

    Republican infighting turned that assumption on its head with Pelosi suddenly looking stronger and more relevant than anybody anticipated, and not just because of Democratic votes that avoided the fiscal cliff. Unlike her counterpart on the Republican side, Pelosi is a leader with a firm lock on her caucus.

  • Youtube


    Pelosi to Appear on ‘30 Rock’

    During series finale.

    Jack Donaghy probably isn’t her biggest fan, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appear on the hour-long series finale of 30 Rock anyway. The finale, which airs on January 31, will be her first scripted television appearance. Pelosi’s role in the episode is unclear, but she said of the appearance, “I would do almost anything Tina Fey asks me to do.” Ice-T is also scheduled to appear in the finale.

    Read it at Vulture