Monday, April 18, 2016

NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "The Highest Glass Ceiling"

"Before Hillary Clinton, these women tried breaking the ‘highest glass ceiling'" PBS NewsHour 4/12/2016


SUMMARY:  With Hillary Clinton as front-runner for the Democratic nomination, the possibility of a female President is closer than ever.  But Clinton is far from the first woman to shoot for the Oval Office.  In her new book, “The Highest Glass Ceiling,” author Ellen Fitzpatrick charts the history of female presidential candidates and the odds they battled.  Judy Woodruff talks to Fitzpatrick to learn more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  President Obama designated a new national monument in Washington today.  The Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument honors suffrage fighters Alva Belmont and Alice Paul.  Since 1929, the home has been the headquarters of the National Woman's Party.

Today, it becomes the first national monument to women's history.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  I want young boys and girls to come here 10, 20, 100 years from now to know that women fought for equality.  It wasn't just given to them.  I want them to come here and be astonished that there was ever a time when women could not vote, that there was ever a time where a woman never sat in the Oval Office.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  And speaking of the Oval Office, that brings us to our latest addition to the NewsHour Bookshelf.

First, some background.

HILLARY CLINTON, Democratic Presidential Candidate:  Finally, fathers will be able to say to their daughters, you too can grow up to be President.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  Making her second run, Hillary Clinton is far from the first woman to set her eyes on the nation's highest office.  She follows more than 200 American women in that quest.

Take the first, Victoria Woodhull.  The 32-year-old launched her bid in 1870, almost half-a-century before women were allowed to vote.  A spiritual-healer-turned-stock-broker, she was nominated by the Equal Rights Party, a group she organized.  Woodhull faced opposition in the press, depicted as a devil for supporting the free love movement, by which she meant the freedom to marry, divorce and bear children.

Almost 100 years later came Maine's Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to be elected into the Senate in her own right.  At President John F. Kennedy's last press conference in 1963, he was asked about a potential Smith run.

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY:  If I were a Republican candidate, I would not look forward to campaigning against Margaret Chase Smith to New Hampshire.  She is a very formidable political figure.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Already, Clinton has made it further than any woman before her.  Historian Ellen Fitzpatrick profiles the three who laid the groundwork for Clinton in her new book, “The Highest Glass Ceiling:  Women's Quest for the American Presidency.”

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