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The Women Who Met Hillary, and Spotted a Future Political Star - The New York Times
DEC. 24, 2016 | NYT | By SUSAN DOMINUS.

Hilary Clinton started changing American political culture for women as far back as the early 1970s — not through a candidacy of her own, but through a series of small, but crucial, networking moves.

The number of women who laboured in basement meetings, in consciousness-raising groups, in boardrooms, in unions, in news organizations and in their own kitchens to expand possibilities for women are far too many to count....Prominent among those who did were a few key friends of Mrs. Clinton whom she helped find paths to the cause, including a Texan political player named Betsey Wright....I’m ushered in to the National League of Women Voters headquarters, and Hillary tells them, ‘This can be your youth director.’”

Ms. Piercy, representing the league, went on to attend the Republican and Democratic conventions in 1972, a key inflection point for female activists. “We realized that the only way we could be accepted as equals was to be in office,” she said. “But the parties were not interested in cultivating women. So we realized we would have to train them ourselves.”...while Mrs. Clinton was a law student supporting the presidential candidate Senator George McGovern in San Antonio, she met Ms. Wright, the person she thought could galvanize and prepare potential female candidates.....Ms. Wright had previously worked on individual women’s campaigns. Yet it was Mrs. Clinton who suggested that Ms. Wright move to Washington to spread her expertise, by joining Ms. Piercy and Ms. Griffith to work for what would become known as the National Women’s Education Fund, an unofficial training arm of the National Women’s Political Caucus, with no formal affiliation. “Hillary was saying they really did need to get somebody who understood local races,” Ms. Wright said. “And she strongly urged me to go.”....Wright created seminars and training sessions that taught women how to maneuver within the political process.

She also formed a powerful partnership with Ruth Mandel, who had recently created the pioneering Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. It was not just that they needed to train women, Ms. Mandel said; they needed to “help women overcome their own resistance to gaining political power in their own right.”...Wright knew that revolutions start with pragmatics: She created a training manual that the Education Fund and the Political Caucus relied on heavily for years, a guidebook that broke down the logistics of opinion polling, reaching the news media and recruiting a staff. The training sessions offered advice on every aspect of campaigning, including details specific to women.
Hillary_Clinton  politics  political_campaigns  discipline  political_infrastructure  institutions  politicians  institution-building  women  networking  training  consciousness-raising  grass-roots  inflection_points 
january 2017 by jerryking
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