Just as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem once gave voice to millions, unions bring nameless federal workers out of the shadows
I recently visited Madison where I spoke to Wisconsin Women in Government, a group founded 24 years ago to support women who choose a career in public service. I welcomed the chance to talk about the ways women discover their power, a subject near to my heart and experience. Even though I'd grown up in a very political family, I'd never imagined as a young girl that I'd become a lawyer or run for political office. That's what guys did. But eventually the women's movement empowered me to develop talents I didn't know I had and inspired me to encourage other women to do the same.
When I was in college, I saw women rally, conduct sit-ins and teach-ins, and march in the streets. In large groups and small meetings, women told their stories, demanded their rights, and passionately argued that they were equal to men. Women friends became class speakers, were hired to teach in law school, and won lawsuits. Heartened by their words and actions, I went to law school myself and founded a group called Women in Politics.
I couldn't have accomplished these things without the support of other women who were also becoming empowered. Led by trailblazers like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, we gradually came to see ourselves differently and stopped believing what the world kept telling us--that we didn't have it in us to make it a man's world. We changed ourselves and we changed society. Friendship and solidarity made these transformations possible.