Five prominent American women on what International Women’s Day means to them
This March 8, you’re not alone.
Whether you’re going about business as usual or striking, International Women’s Day is the one day a year when half of humanity is celebrated. We asked five prominent American women from across the political spectrum what March 8 means to them and what they’re getting up to.
Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino
When former President George W. Bush met a group of Kuwaiti women who had run in the first election they were allowed to — he told them how much he admired them. But when one pointed out that she’d lost, Bush was quick on his feet, pointing out that he’d also lost his first campaign, says Perino.
The President’s efforts to recognize underrepresented groups stuck with Perino, now a co-host on Fox News’ “The Five.” “International Women’s Day is a reminder of what we fortunate to live in a free society should be doing every day—helping others to have the same opportunity at a life filled with joy and possibilities rather than violence and restriction,” she tells Moneyish. Today, she’ll be making her second trip to Mercy Ships, a non-profit surgical hospital in Benin, to help publicize the work they do. “It’s life affirming and certainly good for resetting our priorities,” she says.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
As Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011, Nancy Pelosi was the most powerful female politician to ever hold high office in the United States. And she isn’t done making history. “For women and girls around the world, International Women’s Day celebrates the power of women’s voices and vision, courage and persistence, intelligence and expertise,” she says. “When women succeed, their families, their communities, and their nations succeed.”
Today, the Democrat from California will be wearing red—a color picked by International Women’s Strike organizers to symbolize love and sacrifice—and meeting at the plaza of Capitol Hill in solidarity with women worldwide at 12:30pm. “Women fought, women marched, women sacrificed, women demanded, and then women won the right to vote,” says Pelosi. “It was a tremendous victory for America, not just for women, but for America.”
Conservative commentator and best-selling author Ann Coulter
America’s most famous “right-wing polemicist” is not letting her hair down today. “To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’m working EXTRA hard, writing a slew of columns about the rape culture being brought in by immigrants,” she says.
Republican pollster and ABC News political contributor Kristen Soltis Anderson
March 8 is just another day at the grind. The author of “The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America” says she doesn’t have any particularly political memories of International Women’s Day. Tonight, Anderson will be at a reception organized by a group she works with. “I definitely won’t be striking,” she says.
New York City first lady Chirlane McCray
International Women’s Day has special significance for McCray: The United Nations adopted the day in 1977, the same year she became a New Yorker. “It has always had special meaning for me as the descendant of people from Africa who were enslaved and the granddaughter of immigrants from Barbados,” says McCray. “I am proud that New York City women are leading the effort to promote gender equity.”
A co-chair of the New York City Task Force on Domestic Violence, McCray will be speaking at the UN’s HeForShe Arts Week, which runs March 8 to 15. “It is important that we do this work not just during March, but all year round,” she says.
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