What Will It Take to Make A Woman President?
Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power
by Marianne Schnall
(Click for Amazon book review)
OnTheIssues.org BOOK REVIEW:
This book, on the surface, addresses the structural and societal barriers to overcome for a woman to get elected president. But that's a pretty thin surface for the real underlying discussion, which is about Hillary Clinton getting elected president. Every other topic is secondary, although both the author and the numerous interviewees explore every other topic gamely. The author includes in the book numerous discussions of Hillary, since she comes up when the interviewees answer just about any question on this topic, such as:
Since most of the interviewees discuss Hillary Clinton, one wonders why the author did not interview Hillary Clinton herself. That question is not addressed. My conclusion is that the book is intended for Hillary Clinton fans, who know what Hillary has said about 2016 already (she has not committed to run, but does not deny preparing). Without a direct discussion with Hillary, the rest of the book feels a lot like reading the "Ready for Hillary" website: we're just on the sidelines with everyone else. What's the point?
- Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO): "I'm very hopeful we get a woman president in 2016. I'm very hopeful that Secretary Clinton decides to run." (p. 133)
- Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME): "In the past… there just weren't enough women serving in public office… I think that obviously has changed, and I think that one person who has illustrated that change was Hillary Clinton." (pp. 138-9)
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): "Hillary Clinton would go into the White House as one of the most well-prepared leaders in modern history." (p. 168)
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): "I think we will have a woman president, and I think her name will be Hillary Clinton." (p. 290)
- Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC): "There's no longer a question about whether a woman could be president, because Hillary Clinton's run surely put that to rest." (p. 330)
The book does address topics other than Hillary. We only excerpt politicians' views, but there are plenty of celebrities other than politicians. Mostly women, but a few men. There are some interesting tidbits for even the pundits, like the fact that there is a regular Washington dinner meeting of women from Congress and the Supreme Court (p. 141). But overall, this book feels like a fan club: an outsider talking to other outsiders, discussing rumors and long-term intentions, with no new insight. Hillary fans would be better served reading one of the numerous other biographies. And readers other than Hillary fans will just be annoyed by all of the Hillary-oriented inferences.
-- Jesse Gordon, OnTheIssues editor-in-chief, January 2014
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Barbara Lee: "War on women": systematic attacks on rights in Congress.
Eleanor Holmes Norton: Women have been politically attacked on reproductive health.
Barbara Lee: Women have fought to reduce systemic barriers.
Cathy McMorris-Rodgers: More women running for office is great motivator for others.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: 296 women have served in Congress; vs. more than 12,000 men.
Eleanor Holmes Norton: Why did it take 150 years for women's right to vote?
Eleanor Holmes Norton: Women's paycheck equality is simple update, not very radical.
Hillary Clinton: Women in Public Service Project: 50% of officials by 2050.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: Demographics of Congress doesn't reflect women or minorities.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: Better nation when our representatives are like us.
Kay Bailey Hutchison: Everyone assumes all women will be weak and liberal.
Kirsten Gillibrand: Off the Sidelines Project: engage more women in politics.
Kirsten Gillibrand: Raise awareness of impediments for working women.
Madeleine Albright: It is hard to be the only woman in the room.
Marsha Blackburn: Women push boundaries for those coming behind them.
Nancy Pelosi: Marble ceiling: Congress is very male-oriented society.
Sandra Day O`Connor: Dismantling minority structural barriers is matter of time.
Claire McCaskill: 1980s: Specialized in prosecuting arson & sex crimes.
Kay Bailey Hutchison: Passed state law for fair treatment of rape victims.
Claire McCaskill: Early advocate of drug courts.
Barbara Lee: When I started school, public schools were segregated.
Families & Children|
Kirsten Gillibrand: Affordable daycare is impediment for women working.
Barbara Lee: Public campaign finance levels the playing field.
Kirsten Gillibrand: Illegal for members of Congress to profit from insider info.
Nancy Pelosi: Campaign finance reform to reduce role of money in politics.
Olympia Snowe: Women's voices important on sexual assault in military.
Eleanor Holmes Norton: First woman to chair Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
Mary Fallin: Allow citizens to vote no Right-to-Work.
Olympia Snowe: Women still don't earn what men earn.
Principles & Values|
Claire McCaskill: Won as state rep by knocking on 11,432 doors.
Kay Bailey Hutchison: First Republican woman in Texas Legislature.
Olympia Snowe: First woman to serve in both houses of two legislatures.
Kay Bailey Hutchison: Homemaker IRA: let women at home set aside retirement money.
Mary Fallin: Tax cut gives people back some of their money.
The above quotations are from What Will It Take to Make A Woman President?
Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power
by Marianne Schnall.
2016 Presidential coverage (recent books by early contenders):
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- What Will It Take to Make A Woman President?, by Marianne Schnall
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