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Young Politics May 2015

“Which women in politics do you admire most?”

WVM Photo columnist Paul Bremmer crop 2x2 YOUNGPOLITICSPaul Bremmer – Wash D.C., St. Bonaventure University 2012 Graduate, BioWhen I think of admirable women in politics, I think first about Carly Fiorina. I know she’s never held elected office, but she is “in politics” now that she’s running for president.

She projects the image of a strong and capable woman, and she is the first woman ever to lead one of Fortune magazine’s top 20 companies. During debates, speeches, and interviews this election cycle, she has demonstrated a good grasp of important policy issues, especially foreign relations.

She has been brave enough to go after men and women alike on the campaign trail: she attacked Hillary Clinton early and often, and now she is even getting down into the weeds with Donald Trump, the seemingly unstoppable GOP frontrunner.

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is another woman I admire. It takes a brave woman to run afoul of the feminists by championing a 22-week abortion ban, but that’s what Blackburn did in 2013. She is a solid conservative who always stands up for her principles in a firm but compassionate way.

And, I want to recognize one woman I admire who nobody else knows: State Senator Catharine Young of New York, for whom I once worked. She remains widely loved and respected in her corner of the state as she fights to bring conservative principles to a deep blue state.

Arianna Mendez Profile Phot cropo

Arianna Mendez – FL, Florida International University 2014 Masters Degree, Bio – In grade school, I read a biography on Margaret Thatcher and so began my love for conservative politics. As a Millennial growing up in the nineties, I was bombarded with adulation in TV, movies, and in the classroom for liberal women in politics like Hillary Clinton and progressive figures like Eleanor Roosevelt.

Margaret Thatcher was derided, and at best, she was ignored by liberal schoolteachers who elevated feminist and progressive values. These teachers pushed an implicit agenda that conservatives (Republicans in the U.S context) were anti-women. Not surprisingly, 62.5 % of teachers in the United States identify themselves as ‘liberal.’

No wonder Margaret Thatcher was and continues to be a threat to the progressive educational agenda. Thatcher was a research chemist turned barrister who broke the ‘glass ceiling,’ and she became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She was the first female leader of a major Western power.

She was conservative politician who broke into the good-old boy network. She accomplished more thirty years ago than what people like Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) say is possible for women to accomplish on their own. Clinton and Warren want government intervention and affirmative action to ensure success for women instead of encouraging women to stand on their own two feet and earn respect and achieve professional success.

Today, conservative women are routinely mocked and disregarded by feminists, progressives, and liberal media. Politicians like former Governor Sarah Palin and former Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann were criticized for their looks, demeanor, and family life.

This was because they did not represent the ‘feminist image’ of a modern woman in the liberal definition. Bachmann and Palin were not given a fair shake by the press, and their gaffes and perceived lack of policy knowledge affected their legitimacy as good examples of conservative feminists.

Carly Fiorina, 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate and former Hewlett Packard (HP) CEO, is the perfect example of a strong, knowledgeable, and capable conservative woman. Fiorina is opinionated, accomplished, and a good role model for young women.

She obtained success not through affirmative action or quotas, but by utilizing her talent and work ethic to demonstrate her worth as a professional. She has proven to be an impressive candidate with her extraordinary ability to stay on message and deliver talking points in a clear and precise manner.

When Donald Trump seemed to attack her physical appearance by saying “no one would vote for that face,” she turned that attack around and used the insult to make a memorable ad about female empowerment and how women are the “face” of success. At the same time, she reminded voters in the ad that the Republicans (conservatives) were behind the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

By many accounts, she won the second Republican presidential debate. We will see if she has staying power, but one thing is for certain, we need more conservative female politicians like Fiorina to make the case for conservative feminism. We need women that can compete with men and win on their own merits. To quote Margaret Thatcher, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

WVM Photo Columnist Nana O crop 2x2 YoungPoliticsNana Osei – SC, College of Charleston Student, Bio –  There are many women in politics I admire. Currently there are 20 women serving in the Senate and 84 serving in the House of Representatives. However, there is one specific woman I admire most and consider my female role model not only in politics but in life. Elise Stefanik is a Republican Congresswoman from the 21st district of New York.

Congresswoman Stefanik at age 29 was the youngest representative ever to be elected in the House of Representatives. She serves as a role model for me because of her resilience and efforts to run for congress despite her doubters. Her district was previously held by Democratic representative Aaron Woolf whom she beat in their election by over 23%.

This summer I interned on Capitol Hill and was able to hear the Congresswomen speak in an intern lecture series. After hearing her speak, I was amazed at how confident and well spoken the freshmen congresswomen was. I reached out to her aids in hopes I would be able to meet her. Later that week I was fortunate enough to sit down and talk with her.

After sitting down and talking with Congresswoman Stefanik, I realized she is a role model for me. She was genuinely interested in my endeavors and gave me valuable advice. This is what made me admire her so much. As a Congresswoman, she is extremely busy and didn’t need to take the time out of her day to meet with an intern. However, she made the effort and was nice enough to sit down, meet with me, and give me advice. I can’t wait to see her career in politics develop and grow, being such a young woman. She is an excellent role model for anyone of any gender, and a person to be admired.

WVM Photo Columnist Josh Lim Young Poltiics 1x1 headshotJosh Lim – PA, University of Warsaw 2012 Graduate, Ateneo de Manila University 2014 Graduate, Bio  – Throughout history, women have proven to be some of the most capable politicians this world has ever seen. They have shown their mettle in the halls of power, resolute in their desire to change their countries and the world.

While the United States has a long tradition of women in politics, women have yet to exercise true political authority in the nation’s highest office. While that may change should Hilary Clinton get elected, other countries have already done so, and I’m certainly proud to look up to some of them as well.

It’s hard to choose which women in politics you admire the most when there are so many to choose from, so I will list down my three favorite women who I felt served their countries with distinction and have left their own marks on their country’s politics.

The current mayor of Warsaw, Poland, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, is the first person who I want to mention on this list. In her close to nine years in office, she has shown how capable women can be in running a major city.

Presiding over one of the biggest boom eras in the city’s history, she improved on the city’s infrastructure, showed remarkable compassion for minorities, and brought about improved living standards and a better quality of life in one of Eastern Europe’s largest cities. It’s not an easy task, and she was able to execute it very well, which is definitely worthy of my admiration.

Second on this list is another female political figure who I feel deserves equal mention is Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago here in the Philippines. With her long track record both in the judiciary and the legislature, she has proven her mettle in crafting good policy.

Fighting for transparent government, safeguarding digital freedom, ensuring equal opportunity for rich and poor—her legislative agenda has been equally guided by her principles as her feistiness and gumption; and this certainly earns my respect, if not my admiration. Add on her honesty and clean reputation in a country known for its dirty politics, and she stands out as a ray of hope for this country’s future.

Lastly, Australia’s former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has to be one of the most admirable heads of government I’ve ever seen. While it was her now-famous misogyny speech that really won her my admiration for her willingness to fight for what she believes is right, it’s her political prowess and her policy positions that would make anyone look up to her as a model for politicians both in the United States and abroad.

In many countries, especially outside the United States, women have left their mark on the political landscape. I have a lot of faith that while we’ve gone very far in promoting gender equality in our political life, we can do more. Now that we’ve seen what they’re capable of outside the United States, maybe it’s time for us to see how they did it and follow their example.

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