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Powerful, Fearless Women

On Saturday I lamented to a friend about my disdain for woman on woman bashing. Lord knows that I have been guilty of it a time or two (or four hundred) but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear. On Sunday, just 24 hours after sending an ‘UGH!’ text message I, along with 19 million other people, got to watch actress Jessica Chastain give props to director Kathryn Bigelow not only for her talent but for not taking enough credit for being a source of inspiration for so many women in Hollywood. I got to watch Lena Dunham accept awards for her sometimes groundbreaking, other times eye roll inducing writing that has managed to captivate audiences. I got to watch Twitter light up with praise for the Poehler/Fey duo of comedic genius. It was all so refreshing. Refreshing and needed.

It’s a sad reality is that it’s 2013 and we’re still debating the definition of rape and telling women that sexual assault is their fault because they chose to wear a short skirt. Women and men are not paid the same and though women are over 51 percent of the population we pat ourselves on the back for having 20 women in the United States Senate. Women continue to be defined by whether or not they have children instead of on the content of their work and if we do have children then we still aren’t presented with adequate maternity leave. Yes, this is a gentle reminder of where women in the US are while we proclaim that America isn’t ‘dead beat’ and the greatest nation on earth, we are still woefully behind. And it’s pathetic.

I try to take a giant step back and from how far behind women remain and how critical we (women) can be of each other. I make attempts to fall into a hopeful mindset that women will advance, do better, and will be kinder to themselves and to one another. There’s also the knowledge that there have been and will continue to be powerful women across this country and in this world. That is what keeps me going.

Here are just a few of my favorite women. Women who inspire me and others to do more, try more, and seek more.


  • Stephanie Schriock 1 of 8
    Stephanie Schriock
    Stephanie Schriock is the current president of EMILY's List the preeminent destination for Progressive women candidates. What makes her special is the work she has done in the past two years to not only increase the number of women candidates AND get them in office but to also bring awareness to the need for women to be involved. (photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images/Newscom/File)
  • Donna Brazile 2 of 8
    Donna Brazile
    Donna Brazile is a longtime political consultant and ran Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. She is currently an author and frequent contributor to CNN. What I admire about her - and several of her close friends - is the support and assistance given to other women of color working in politics. (Photo: E.Roda/CNN)
  • Malala Yousafzai 3 of 8
    Malala Yousafzai
    At age 11, Malala Yousafzai became a women's rights and education advocate after growing up under Taliban rule. At age 14, she was shot in the head while returning home on the school bus. She is now internationally known - including being a top contender for the Time Person of the Year and a possible Nobel Peace Prize - for the unfortunate consequences of her advocacy. That girls in this world are still prevented from having an education and will be shot for speaking out is why we cannot squander our access and right to education in this country. (AP Photo/Queen Elizabeth Hospital)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand 4 of 8
    Kirsten Gillibrand
    Anyone who follows me anywhere knows that I admire and have a tremendous amount of respect for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. I have been working with her since her first campaign for Congress (we both hail from Upstate NY) and it has been a pleasure to see her go from the House of Representatives to the United States Senate to starting Off the SidelinesOff the Sidelines to get young women engaged in politics. (Photo: Norman Jean Roy/Vogue)
  • Aung San Suu Kyi 5 of 8
    Aung San Suu Kyi
    Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar (formerly Burma) solely for wanting her country to be a democracy. While under house arrest she earned the Nobel Peace Prize for her work promoting democracy and in 2012 she won the Congressional Medal of Freedom. As Americans, we often take for granted our right to vote which many seeing the ability to vote as a chore. It's sad to hear complaints about voting because the lines are too long when you know that there are people who have been held and are held prisoner just for wanting democracy. (Photo: DRN/Getty images)
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton 6 of 8
    Hillary Rodham Clinton
    First Lady turned Senator turned Secretary of State and all around badass. I have admired Secretary Clinton for decades and I am looking forward to seeing what she does next. P.S. We share a birthday. (Photo: Flickr)
  • Nancy Pelosi 7 of 8
    Nancy Pelosi
    Love her or hate her, Leader Pelosi became a household name after becoming the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives. Even though Democrats are no longer in power she still manages to get her caucus to get things done. (Photo: Flickr)
  • Angela Merkel 8 of 8
    Angela Merkel
    The thought of Angela Merkel and what she has accomplished gives me chills. She was a chemist and is now the Chancellor of Germany. She is the first woman to hold the office. She was also head of the G8 and is the most powerful woman in the world. I want to be her when I grow up. (Photo: Flickr)"
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Keep the conversation going with Heather Barmore at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue, Twitter and Facebook.

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