Nancy Pelosi is an inspiration to us all — a strong woman who imparts change on a daily basis, standing up for the rights of women (and people) everywhere with apparent ease. And with the recent passing of the Violence Against Women Act (and the subsequent sequestration that crippled the funding by $20 million), her unique position is more in the spotlight than ever. Feministing's Chloe Angyal sat down with the House Minority Leader to ask a few pointed questions, from feminist heroes to cringe-worthy news stories to, most importantly, how the recent financial upset will affect millions of American women.
According to Pelosi, it's the absence of women in politics that poses the most significant barrier to feminism today. That, and affordable, high-quality child care. Says Pelosi, "If you reduce the role of money in politics and increase the level of civility, you’ll have more women elected to public office...I’m very proud of what we’ve done, we’ve increased the number of women in the House, especially on the Democratic side, but it’s not enough. We’re talking incrementally all the time and I think we need to be talking in a different way; we need to make our own environment." But in order for those women to make a difference in government, as well as in other fields, the issue of child care still looms: "If we’re going to fully unleash the richness of women onto our society, in the fullest possible way, on national security, and the economy, academics, politics, whatever it is, we must have affordable and quality child care."
Like us, Pelosi is — despite being a woman well-versed in the pitfalls of partisanship — pretty surprised at how many people voted against the Violence Against Women Act. Even the 500 days Congress waited to pass this new legislation was "unconscionable" for those women in need of a lifeline, she says. And to that, all we can say is preach. Read more on what she has to say on the subject, plus the ways in which sequestration will affect this bill, here.