Stepping Up to Power: The Political Journey of American Women

Stepping Up to Power: The Political Journey of American Women

Stepping Up to Power: The Political Journey of American Women

Stepping Up to Power: The Political Journey of American Women

Excerpt

This book anticipates the future by recalling the past. It's a personal story told against the backdrop of tremendous change in women's lives in the second half of the twentieth century, from my mother's lifetime to my granddaughters' future in the new millennium.

There is a lot to learn in the story of women's progress in the last fifty years, a story that coincides with my own reluctant evolution from housewife to national women's political leader. When readers learn about the struggle to get a first newspaper job, who gave money for women to run for office, and how we gambled to create the "Year of the Woman," they may grasp the dimensions of what has occurred and have more confidence to take risks themselves.

In the past few decades, American society literally has been transformed in a revolution that has changed the status of women, with all the accompanying adjustments in personal and public power relationships between men and women. Both men and women have gained the opportunity to discard rigid gender expectations. Within a seeming eyewink of time, we were released from second-class existence to a world of nearly unlimited possibilities. What are we doing with our lives?

It may help to see what other women have done with theirs, particularly those who were faced with unusual challenges. This book begins with a celebration of some important achievers; it closes with a call for new leadership. In between, there is the story of women's political awakening since the 1950s, including the evolution of my own political career, both its successes and its failures. The book examines the strange dance we do around a topic that is key to success in every part of our lives: power. There also are some specific suggestions intended to inspire others to follow in the path of women's political pioneers.

A new millennium is a useful juncture to take a fresh look at how we are doing. It is easy to see that despite much social and economic progress, there is astonishing dissatisfaction with our political system and also with an economic system that seems . . .

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