The Women and Politics Institute provides practical and academic training to women that encourages them to become involved in the political process and facilitates research by faculty and students that enhances our understanding of the challenges and opportunities women face in the political arena.
More than 60 people joined WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin on April 10th to hear New York Times best-selling author Evan Thomas and his wife Oscie discuss their new book, First, about the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The Thomases shared many anecdotes from interviewing more than 350 people about O'Connor, who was a ranch-raised, Stanford-educated, extremely practical woman, in her own life as well as on the bench.
Evan Thomas said O'Connor was frequently a "girl in a man's world", including raising three boys, but had enough education and good sense to navigate that successfully. Fischer Martin asked about the idea that O'Connor was also the "fifth" as a swing vote on the Supreme Court when it came to her priority issues of affirmative action, reproductive rights and freedom of religion. Both Thomases agreed that O'Connor would not like that description or attention, but rather preferred to put her head down and do the work.
Oscie Thomas discussed at length the relationship between O'Connor and the second female Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She said their relationship was both competitive and support. Apparently Justice Clarence Thomas called O'Connor the "glue" of the jurists. Pick up a copy of First to learn more about O'Connor's ground-breaking role on the Court.
Six Female Ambassadors Reflect on Strides, Hurdles for Women in Politics The Washington Diplomat, March 29, 2019