Elizabeth Holzman reminds us why we need a woman president.
n 1972, when I first ran for Congress, my rival mocked my campaign against him as an attempt to topple the Washington Monument with a toothpick. The local Democratic political “boss” sneeringly dismissed me and my supporters as “Holtzman and her squaws.” A major newspaper headline called me a “wispy challenger,” focusing on my height and weight instead of the substance of my platform.
At the time, I was 31 years old, and that was seen as a perfectly normal way to talk about a woman running for office.
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I ended up toppling the “Washington Monument”—an 84-year old incumbent—and in winning that race, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. There were barely any women on Capitol Hill at the time—I was one of 16 in the House, and there were none in the Senate—and over the two decades I served in elective office, I continually butted up against a glass ceiling. Even worse, I confronted an entire political system and culture that devalued women and discriminated against them in ways both obvious and subtle.