December 12, 2017
In this week's edition:
- What Can A Woman Do?
- Upwind Academy: Introducing our Winter schedule!
- Oh Yes She Did! Weekly Highlight Clip
What Can A Woman Do?
A reflection and recap of the Women Money Power 2017 Summit / 30th Anniversary Luncheon
Written by guest author, Miranda Baltaxe
“I once had a nurse, a female military nurse, tell me ‘I am more afraid of my own men than of the enemy’.” Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D- MA) told the gasping, mostly-female audience at the National Press Building on Wednesday (12/6) afternoon. I was lucky to attend, for the second time, the Feminist Majority’s Women Money Power Summit in Washington DC, a gathering that “brings together a combination of feminist thinkers, speakers, and activists as well as top political leaders” (according to their website) to speak and honor the achievements of influential women in politics who have devoted their lives to fighting for feminist causes.
What can a woman do? I asked myself that question before the conference, as I was reading the impressive list of attendees. In a room full of firsts- the first Japanese-American woman elected to Congress, first Hispanic women and first transgender woman in the Virginia house of representatives, first women to break the glass ceiling a little higher than the last- the trailblazers around me were answering it.. These powerful women were being recognized for their achievements, and it occurred to me that their achievements were well more than just ‘being the first’ of their kind to do the same things many men have done.
Tsongas, who served on the House Armed Services Committee, showed that a woman can change the world for the others around her. She fought for years to improve the treatment of women in the military, and thanks to her, body armour is now tailored to women’s bodies, female soldiers wear women’s cut shoes, and have access to birth control overseas. Tsongas was also the first woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts for 25 years, but that was just where she started. Since taking office, she has fostered an environment where 50% of Massachusetts’ delegates are now women, and, now that she is retiring, 5 of the 11 people vying for her position are women as well.
I’m a Virginian, born and raised, and my pride in my state was reinforced by the powerful women who now help represent it. The Republican party controlled the Virginia House of Representatives 66-34 going into the November 2017 election. Most Representatives were incumbents, having served for as many as 15 years in their seats. Charniele Herring, the Minority Chair of the Virginia House of Delegates and a black woman, strategized the Democratic takeover of the House. Despite Republican gerrymandering and all odds stacked against her, she recruited 16 women to run for seats in the House, and ushered in a tidal wave of change for the State. Herring proved that a woman can sway an entire election and tied the house 48-48, flipping 14 seats (11 by women) with 4 seats too close to call as of yet.
Women can open doors for other women. Because of the work of Herring and women like her, Rep. Danica Roem was able to overthrow 13-term incumbent and self-proclaimed “Chief Homophobe” Robert G. Marshall and become the first openly-transgender person elected in ANY US Statehouse. Roem is one of those people that I wish I was able to vote for. She is a model of poise and of exactly what a woman can do. Now that she has this platform, she has the potential to change the lives of her transgender and female constituents that no other person has ever been able to do. I am confident she will be a perfect example of what a woman can do.
After honoring Tsongas, Eleanor Smeal, the President of the Feminist Majority, mentioned Hilary’s loss in the 2016 presidential election for the first time all day. She mourned the immediate outcome, but rejoiced the triumph that came after. She reminded the room that on the current president’s first day in office, millions of women worldwide came out for the Million Women’s March and told him “we are not going back.” Women had organized the biggest protest in the history of the world. She finished with a final note “if that man can be in office, then so can we!” The room exploded.
We are on the cusp of another Year of the Woman. 2017 was a start- never before have so many women been elected to state and federal positions, nor have so many women marched for what they believe in. Never before did we have women running against each other for seats in the House, or even had people challenging long-term incumbents like we saw in Virginia. In 2017, we saw just the beginning of what a woman can really do, and what a woman can do is change the world.
Miranda Baltaxe is a student at HB Woodlawn where she competes with Pandemonium. She is also Upwind's High School Intern.
Upwind Academy: Introducing our Winter Schedule!
Upwind Academy is back with a whole new set of incredible courses. Sign up for one today - space is limited!
- Understanding Whiteness, with Chip Chang
- Coaching Female Athletes, with Zara Cadoux and Simon Pollock
- Talking About Trans*, with Jenna Weiner
- Building Gender Equity Leadership in Mixed Ultimate, with Bert Abbott, Kellie Koester, and Natalie Jamerson
- White Feminism and Gender Equity, with Zara Cadoux
- Asian American History and Identity, with Chip Chang
OH YES SHE DID!
Highlight of the Week
- If you won a jersey in the Jersey Auction Fundraiser for The Sky Is Red, and have not received your jersey yet, please follow up here.
- We've updated our page for The Crosswind Tour! Bringing you lots of incredible events and event information.