Blog Posts by Telle Whitney and Guests Tech Her
By Telle Whitney, President and CEO
I spent last week at the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington DC. The attendees are primarily Washington politicians, lobbyists, and journalist, a different audience than I am normally engaged with, but also an important one. I participated in a roundtable by the Atlantic magazine on social media.
I was in the audience when John McCain and Lindsey Graham talked about Susan Rice, and how they would block her appointment. I was reminded how much I dislike the posturing of politicians, like they both did. Their comments were definitely intended to prove a point, not lead the country. However, most of the politicians that spoke, both Democrats and Republicans, emphasized working across the aisle.
Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota was one of the speakers. I had met her in California, and I am impressed by her candor, focus on issues, and lack of posturing. There are now 20 women senators, and she articulated how she realized the increase when there was a traffic jam in the women’s bathroom in the Senate for the first time. The women senators hold a monthly dinner, they build their network, and have often worked together on legislation. Senator Kobuchar’s comment about her experience with women is that they speak softly and carry a big statistic.
Madeline Albright (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Albright) discussed whether women have changed policy. I have seen Secretary Albright speak several times, and she always articulates the need for more women to be in positions of power. She articulated that women think differently than men. When women are economically empowered, there is more attention paid to some issues – health economic empowerment. She also said that in diplomacy you have to put yourself in others shoes and women are good at that.
Over half of the speakers on the agenda were women, powerful women like Senator Kobuchar and Nancy Pelosi. The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute clearly thought about ensuring that the speakers provided a wide set of voices to the audience.