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Women as Candidates

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The first in our three-part series of Educational forums exploring women’s increasing political activism and leadership. The Changing Faces of Power: Women in Politics Series is hosted by the League of Women Voters and Sewall-Belmont House & Museum. This forum took place on November 14, 2007 at the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, DC.


Amy Conroy, Executive Director,
Sewall-Belmont House & Museum

Mary G. Wilson, President,
League of Women Voters

Eleanor Clift,
Author and Newsweek Contributing Editor

Special Guest Panelists:

Karen O'Connor, Founder and Director, Women in Politics Institute, American University

Ilana Goldman, President, Women’s Campaign Forum

The Honorable Connie Morella, former member of U.S. Congress (MD)

Marcia Dyson, Advisor to 2008 Hillary Clinton for President Campaign

Audience Question and Answer

About the Participants

Series Moderator: Eleanor Clift
Eleanor Clift is a contributing editor to Newsweek magazine where she reports on the White House, presidential politics, and a variety of national issues.  Clift is a regular panelist on the nationally syndicated show, The McLaughlin Group, and a political analyst for the Fox News Network and co-author of two books: War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics (1996), and Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling (2000), and author of 2003’s Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment, which she researched in part at the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum.

Karen O’Connor: Founder and Director, Women & Politics Institute at American University
Karen O’Connor is the Founder and Director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University.  The Institute is a leading center for scholarly research on women and politics and political leadership training.  O’Connor was recently named the Jonathan N. Helfat Distinguished Professor of Political Science.  She has previously been named Professor of the Year for the University Honors Department and AU’s Scholar-Teacher of the Year. O'Connor has written, co-authored, and edited several books, including Gendering American Politics, Perspectives from the Literature; Women and Congress: Running, Winning, and Ruling; No Neutral Ground: Abortion Politics in an Age of Absolutes; Women, Politics, and American Society; and American Government: Continuity and Change.   

Ilana Goldman: President, Women’s Campaign Forum
Ilana Goldman is the President of the Women's Campaign Forum, an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting women as leaders in politics. She has senior management experience spanning the political, business, and nonprofit worlds, with a focus on entrepreneurial ventures.   Goldman holds an MBA from Harvard University as well as a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, and was recently named a “Woman to Watch” by Washingtonian Magazine.

The Honorable Connie Morella
Ambassador Constance A. Morella was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as United States Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2003.  From 1987 until January 2003, Morella represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, following a lengthy career in the Maryland General Assembly.  During her sixteen years in the House of Representatives, Morella developed a national reputation as a leader in efforts to promote economic growth through science and technology and she was a leading advocate for women and families.  She has received numerous awards, including the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights award for her “selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality.”

The Reverend Marcia Dyson
Rev. Dyson has been hailed as one of our nation's foremost political commentators and spiritual writers and lecturers. She is currently traveling throughout the country on a faith tour on behalf of Senator Hillary Clinton, reaching out to African American women and engaging them in political life. A Chicago native, Dyson has had an impressive career in engaging women of color in politics and religion, and has served as a major advocate for neglected women and children of all backgrounds. She has also served as a prominent media and public relations representative on behalf of major clients and elected officials, including Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

In addition to her work on behalf of Senator Clinton, Rev. Dyson currently serves as a Research Associate in the African Studies Department of the University of Pennsylvania. She is also an established author, a contributing writer to Essence Magazine and a regular political commentator on WHUR-FM radio here in Washington, where she speaks on issues concerning race, gender inequality, and international politics.