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The Wednesday Five: On Leadership in Politics

In this week’s Wednesday Five we share stories about women of color and their leadership roles in politics.



A History of the Women Who Have Run for President of the United States

Patsy_Mink_1970sPatsy Takemoto Mink ran for president in 1972.

Did you know that since 1872, a total of 14 women have run for president of the United States? No, that’s not a typo in the year “1872.” Women were running for president long before the 19th Amendment gave them the right to vote in 1920. And who are these women? An informative article in The San Francisco Gate gives us a slideshow of these trailblazers. The first woman was Victoria Claflin Woodhull who ran in 1872 while simultaneously using the platform to campaign for women’s suffrage. And in 1972, Patsy Takemoto Mink, a third generation Japanese American, ran for president after becoming the first woman of color to be elected for Congress in 1965.

Read more at The San Francisco Gate.

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Valerie Jarrett

Valerie Jarrett is the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama where she oversees the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls.  She is also fiercely committed  to campaigns to end sexual assault and to workplace policies that empower working families and promote entrepreneurship and early childhood education. Above, she spoke at the Harvard School of Public Health as part of the “Decision-making: Voices from the Field”  leadership series.



Elaine Chao


Elaine Chao is a former Secretary of Labor — the 24th person, to be exact, in the position. She served from 2001 to 2009 and earned the record for the person holding the position for the longest period since WWII. Her journey from coming to the US from Taiwan on a cargo ship to breaking ground as an Asian woman in politics has been a hard-won one. After a career in banking, she worked her way to becoming the first Asian Pacific woman on the US cabinet and continued to be an advocate for immigrant women and women of color throughout and after her tenure as Secretary of Labor.

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