Sandra Fluke, Chelsea Clinton, Christine Quinn on women in politics

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sandra Fluke, Chelsea Clinton, and Speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn were among the guests who discussed the role of women in politics at the 92nd Street Y in New York City yesterday evening. The forum was co-hosted by Glamour magazine.

Sandra Fluke
Sandra Fluke
Image: U.S. Congressional Oversight Committee, Democratic Party (2012).
Chelsea Clinton
Sandra Fluke, Chelsea Clinton, and Christine Quinn discussed women in politics at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

Clinton led the panel; Fluke and Quinn were joined by additional panelists including the communications chief to former President George W. Bush, Nicolle Wallace; Abby Huntsman Livingston, daughter of former Republican presidential candidate and past governor of Utah and United States Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman; the President of EMILY's List, Stephanie Schriock; and news anchor Amy Holmes.

I want women to see this as an empowering moment.

Sandra Fluke

Fluke remarked upon the slew of media reactions to her February 23 U.S. Congressional testimony about women's health and contraception, "One of the things I was really concerned about when ... verbal attacks began was what kind of message this was going to send to young women... I was worried they would think, 'I should sit down and shut up, because if I speak out, this is what happens' ... I want women to see this as an empowering moment."

Wallace commented that women should be inspired to work in government due to a motivation of public service, "If you were asked, 'Will you serve?' you'd say, 'Of course!'... Part of the problem is that our politics are so sick — there's very little young women see in our news about the essence of what the office once was, which is, public service." She noted the potential impact of women voters on the upcoming 2012 U.S. presidential election, "Women don't vote in a bloc, but they are the largest percentage of independent voters".

Until my mother ran for president, I wasn’t fully cognizant of how few women run for office and how few women hold office

Chelsea Clinton

Clinton pointed out that the United States is joined by the country of Turkmenistan for 78th place in a ranking of the proportion of female members of the federal government. She noted, "Until my mother ran for president, I wasn’t fully cognizant of how few women run for office and how few women hold office".

Quinn informed the panel that when she initially decided to attempt to become Speaker of the New York City Council, critics told her why she would fail, "Because I was from the west side of Manhattan, cause I was too liberal, because I was a woman, because I was a lesbian, all things I knew when I woke up that morning, you know what I’m saying." She asserted that politics in New York need not be tied to a particular politician's sex, and stated, "the sky is the limit in New York."

Schriock emphasized there are indeed women placed in federal elections in the U.S., "They're running for office right now in 2012. We have a historic number of women running for the United States Senate". She posed the question of how to ensure these candidates succeed in their elections.

Wallace admitted that she authored novels It's Classified and Eighteen Acres as a cathartic form of expressing herself after viewing the pressures Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Obama experienced in the media during the 2008 campaign cycle. "I was so scarred by 2008 I made up an imaginary world".