Description: The article is about myrutgers portal. It refers to the content of the interview between the author and Ruth at Rutgers University talking about some details of the school, their opinions about the improvement of the university and three interrelated challenges about its development.
All of biological and Health Sciences asked a question similar to one of mine. what are the biggest misconceptions people have about you? I’d add what do you wish people knew or understood better about you?
First, let me say how pleased and honored I am to be here and especially to participate in the Clifford peek case professor of Public Affairs, I admired senator case from afar and delighted members of his family are here, today I yearned for those years when Republicans and Democrats work together on behalf of I’m delighted to be here with Ruth whom I’ve known for a very long time.
I admired greatly also the work of the Eagleton Institute and the Center for Women and Politics, so today I have no idea about what Ruth is going to ask me, she has no idea about what I’m going to answer, it may be fitting, we’re in a basketball court, because we’ll throw the ball back and forth to try to make it interesting for you over the next hour and half the question that Ruth posed is obviously the one that I’ve given some thought to, because I hear it myself, I hear what Ruth was alluding to be well-known.
I take that to heart, because I’ve been in the national public eye now for 25 years ever since 1992, but I have often thought that I am a Rorschach test for people who are trying to make sense, not of me personally, but of women’s roles and women’s expanded opportunities in not only America, but around the world.
I’m seeing it as an individual who I adore and has literally done my schedule, as she said for all these days, I’m very grateful for my friendships and my colleagues, I spend a lot of time nurturing those, I’ve got a tremendous circle of people who do know me and do understand and do support me.
I’m very grateful for all of that, but when you’re in the public eye, you get snippets of a person and I think it’s gotten even more difficult not to have a fragmentary view of anybody in the public arena today, so I can’t answer it fully.
I think people are very curious and in part the curiosity is because of my coming onto the stage in a way as the first woman of my generation to be in the White House as a first lady having worked as a lawyer, as an advocate prior to my husband ever being elected president, so that raised questions, I think people drew all kinds of assumptions or caricatures from that I did.
As you might recall play a very active and public role in trying to bring about universal health care reform, so that everybody would have, I can overstate how controversial that was, I was doing what I thought was an important mission that my husband and his team had asked me to do and every day I was in the vortex of political struggle.
I think that I myself have the role of women in our society, we converged one might even say collided at a point in history and I think it is still to some extent going on, so I can only hope that people understand and maybe know more about me, because there’s a through line to my life my commitment, to my own family, to children and families, to women’s rights and opportunities to try to make us a more perfect union.
I believe all of that, because I was given a great support in my own life by my own family and a great public school education and everything that has made me who I am, so I would hope that people would spend a little bit of time looking behind the image or the picture.
I think what we hope for all of us we want to be known as who we are and judged positively or negatively based on what we do not say, I think that’s my best, the image and the picture are so complicated, most admired woman in the world more than any other woman and at the same time and people are saying to get off the public stage which is something we’re hearing all the time.
You know how that began to happen after the election, the election was traumatic, so I think there were a lot of people, I don’t want him to think about it, I don’t want to have to hear about it, that’s how I felt, I took a lot of long walks in the woods, drank my share of Chardonnay, I did what I could to deal with it.
But then I did decide that I had to figure out what happened, because I was confused about it and ended up, writing a book called that and I was struck by how people said that to me, mostly people in the press for whatever reason like that.
I had one of the young people who works for me. go back and do a bit of research. they never said that to any man who was not elected. I was struck by that and I’m glad that Al Gore didn’t stop talking about climate change.
I’m glad that John Kerry went to the Senate and became an excellent Secretary of State and I’m glad John McCain kept speaking out and standing up and saying what he had to say and for heaven’s sakes Mitt Romney is running for the Senate.
So I think it was the moment in time because of what had been expected to happen in the election which obviously did not and then a lot of angst and second guessing and finger-pointing and everything that went on, but I am committed to speaking out and doing what I can to have a voice in the debate about where our country is going, because maybe we’ll get to it.
I won’t be surprised you hear me say that I have some concerns, I think we need to be talking about it, in includes not only me, but every one of us needs to be speaking up and taking part, so when we established the Center for American women in politics in 1971, part of this whole era that we’ve been involved with people told us.
There was no such subject as women and politics certainly nothing to study and we were establishing it at a university almost 50 years later, we’re very proud that this Center is the nation’s premier resource on all things women oncologist and we might always point to you as a model of women’s political leadership.
You recently wrote the most important work of my life has been to support and empower women I’m proud, I’m proud that it’s the work I’m most associated with and it remains what I’m most dedicated to Debbie Walsh coughs director for almost 20 years has been saying that this work to change the face of political power is a marathon, not a sprint.
We’re experiencing an unprecedented moment of political engagement on the part of women, how do we sustain that and how do we sustain the institutions that are supporting that engagement partisan nonpartisan academic activists, how do we keep from regressing in the face of backlash.
I think I’m so encouraged and optimistic about the number of women, particularly young women who are running for office, who are active in politics, even if they themselves are not the candidates, I’ve been supporting groups that are recruiting women to become candidates training them.
As you have done at the center over so many years, so I think there are three interrelated challenges, the first which I believe we are on the brink of crossing over is to convince women to get involved in politics and despite despite, how difficult it is going in with your eyes wide open that you will be criticized.
You will unfortunately face all kinds of attacks online and offline in the so-called real world, but it’s worth it to go out there to advocate for what you believe to be the person trying to make the change, you want to see and the numbers of women who are running in these midterm elections and in the special elections that we’ve seen over the past year and three or four months is very encouraging to me.
So we’ve got to keep those numbers you have to keep the pipeline full, it’s not one and out it’s one after another keep getting more women to run keeping, it’s convincing young women to be part of it and also encouraging women to work in politics.
Not everybody wants to be the candidate, it’s not for everybody, you saw Ilona up here, probably the most important person to any candidate is her scheduler, because you have a precious commodity known as your time and your energy, you have to trust totally the person who’s making the decisions in their logistical and political.
You have to put your whole faith in that person, so it’s a very complicated job that requires all the skills that she learned here at Rutgers, so there are roles for people who never want to be a candidate, as I hope many of you will consider this as the second thing, there is something of a backlash, I understand that and it’s not only in our country, it’s in other places around the world, because when you make enough progress, when you change enough laws or regulations or norms or challenge, preconceived notions about women.
What they can do or should do there will always be discomfort and there will always be people who will want to pull that progress back and you have to understand, that’s part of breaking through glass ceilings and moving forward and bringing others with you.
So you cannot allow yourself to get discouraged about that, because it’s going to happen and finally if you’re new to politics, new to be involved in making change, it is easy to get discouraged, because it takes so long and there are so many setbacks.
If you go into politics or public policy changes believing so strongly, what you want to happen, you’re advocating you name the issue that you care about for equal pay or paid sick days or paid leave which are being considered in the state government now here in New Jersey.
If you care about those issues, you can call your representatives, your senators and the governor’s office and you get into it and you think well who’s against these things or you’re advocating for climate change or you’re advocating on behalf of those brave young students from parkland for common sense and you find out that there are a lot of people who don’t want that to happen and they are determined.
Because they have other interests, they see the world differently, they make money from it, they have ideological reasons for it, the biggest challenge we face is keeping up our momentum of sustaining the energy that I have now seen across our country.
We saw first of all in the March, the day after the inauguration, we’ve seen it on the march to why and recognizing that, that’s so important to bring people with you and to share that energy and to build those coalition’s.
But it will all come to naught if you don’t show up and vote, so at the end of it, everyone who cares about any of these issues has to turn yourself into a get-out-the-vote person to get everybody especially young people for whom these decisions will have decades of impact to show up and vote, because we can have all the rallies and all the marches and all the other events that are possibly imaginable, but if we don’t change the people making decisions, we’re going to be discouraged.