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ISSUE 116 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 5/2/2003

Estrich speaks on sexism

By Ken Foote
Executive Editor

Friday, May 2, 2003

Although more women currently are going to college and earning degrees, they are still making little headway in corporate America, with only six women running Fortune 500 companies.

As well adjusted, politically minded liberal arts students, everyone has thought about these issues at one point or another. To further the discussion on this topic the Political Awareness Committee sponsored a talk by author, attorney and political commentator Susan Estrich.

The first woman to run a presidential campaign, Estrich orchestrated Michael Dukakis’ unsuccessful run at the White House in 1988. Currently she is the resident liberal on the Fox News Channel and writes a syndicated column that runs in various newspapers twice a week. She also ranks number 52 on the list of the most influential scholars.

She spoke for a little over an hour about her life, some of the discrimination she faced, the difference in the business world today, the uphill climb that many women still face and how she came about her political agenda.

"I started my research about 25 years ago because all the men I saw were running the world, literally running the world," Estrich said. "All the women I saw were real estate bankers, not in high-profile jobs that were running the world."

Despite graduating with highest honors from Wellesley College in 1974, Estrich maintained that she was not hired as a law clerk for a high profile judge just because she was a woman.

"I was the president of the Harvard Law Review and a liberal and you were supposed to follow a certain path," Estrich said. "That path was to work for that judge, but I was told point blank that I wouldn’t be hired because I was a woman."

The outward sexism Estrich encountered is different from the sexism many women face today.

"Many women today never feel they have been discriminated against and that is wonderful," Estrich said. "However, it still goes on; there simply isn’t someone explicitly saying what is truly going on, as in my case."

So what are Estrich’s comments on the current status of women?

"I am proud of what we have accomplished in my lifetime, but there are still reasons for vigilance. There are still battles to be fought," she said. "We are about half way through the fight and somewhat stuck; it is going to take a lot more time.

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