Balancing Politics and Personal Life

MON, OCT 27, 2003 (1:14:59)

Panelists discuss how women with careers in politics can best balance their work and personal lives. Women have had limited success as political candidates in New England: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine have never elected a woman governor; and Vermont and New Hampshire have never sent a woman to the US Congress.

+ BIO: Janet Wu

Janet Wu has been the NewsCenter 5 State House reporter for WCVB-TV since January, 1983. In 2006 she joined WCVB’s investigative unit, Team 5 Investigates. Wu is a key member of WCVB’s political unit and was a member of the team honored in 2001 and 2005 with the coveted Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Political Journalism. The station was recognized for its candidate-orientated reporting and its effort to cover issues important to its hometown audience. In 1998, Wu was awarded first place in the Associated Press’ Investigative/ Enterprise category and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting for her report entitled “Public Property, Private Lies”. In addition, the NewsCenter 5 political team was honored in 1989 with a First Place National Headliners Award and with a Murrow Award for the best political coverage of any station in the nation. Wu, a native of Bridgewater, NJ, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She is fluent in the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. Wu is married and has two children.

+ BIO: Dale Rogers Marshall

A political scientist specializing in urban politics, Dale Rogers Marshall was appointed as Wheaton’s sixth president in 1992. Since then, she has led an economic and academic expansion of Wheaton, which has resulted in growing recognition of the college’s status as a leading liberal arts college. While serving as Wheaton’s president, Marshall has remained active as a scholar and a faculty member, regularly teaching courses on urban politics. She is the co-author of Protest is Not Enough: The Struggle of Blacks and Hispanics for Equality in Urban Politics (UC Press, 1984). The study won two prestigious American Political Science Association prizes for the best book on American Policy and the best book on ethnic relations. Her latest publication is a co-edited book, Racial Politics in American Cities (Longman, 1990; 3rd ed., 2002). She has also authored and edited numerous books and articles in her field of concentration, urban politics. She also authored “Revolution and Evolution: Strategies for Change” in The Presidency, Fall 1999, (pp 38-40), American Council on Education magazine. She chaired the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts. She was elected to the National Academy of Public Administration in 1987. In 1996 she was elected to the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. She currently chairs the American Council on Education’s Leadership Commission, serves on the board of the New England Zenith Fund of the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, is a member of the American Student Assistance Guarantor Board, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1993 and served as vice president of the American Political Science Association and president of the Western Political Science Association. Marshall received her BA in government from Cornell University in 1959 with high honors in government and distinction in all subjects.

+ BIO: Melba Depena

An immigrant from the Dominican Republic, Melba Depena is the first member of her family to go to college, attending URI and latter becoming executive assistant to URI’s Vice Provost for Urban Programs John McCray. In ‘98 Depena, developed the first travel program to provide students with an opportunity to travel to Cuba in the company of faculty from the Psychology Department and the Urban Field Center. It comes as no surprise, then, that in December 2003, the Rhode Island Democratic Party chose her as its first female and first Latina executive director. Beyond direct involvement in specific campaigns, Depena impacted Rhode Island’s political landscape as president of the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund. Comprised of two organizations, the Latino Civic Fund and the Latino Political Action Committee, it provides outreach to both the Latino community and candidates. The civic fund promotes the importance of becoming an American citizen and voter participation, while the PAC offers nominal financial support and endorsements to those candidates who show interest in working with the Latino and urban communities.

+ BIO: Jane Swift

As the first female Governor of Massachusetts, Jane Swift rose to the challenge of balancing motherhood with holding the highest-profile job in the state. In addition to being the first woman to hold her position, Swift is also the first Governor in the United States to give birth while serving in office, to twin girls. During her term in office as Governor of Massachusetts, Swift crafted a progressive public policy agenda that dramatically improved public education and enhanced economic opportunity for families and businesses. She managed a $23 billion annual budget, oversaw employment of 65,000 state workers and set strategic direction for thirteen cabinet-level agencies. She advocated for educational reform and championed solutions that provided a guaranteed college education for foster children. Swift kept tax relief a top priority by filing legislation to expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and supported a successful voter initiative to reduce the state income tax. Swift’s career as an elected official began just three years after earning her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College. At age 25 she became the youngest woman ever elected to the Massachusetts State Senate, and quickly proceeded to become the youngest woman in Senate history to hold a leadership position when she rose to the rank of Assistant Minority Leader.

+ BIO: Marie C. Wilson

An advocate of women’s issues for more than 30 years, Marie C. Wilson is founder and President of The White House Project, co-creator of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and author of Closing the Leadership Gap: Why Women Can and Must Help Run the World (2004). Over the last thirty years, Wilson’s accomplishments span becoming the first woman elected to the Des Moines City Council as a member-at-large in 1983, co-authoring the critically acclaimed Mother Daughter Revolution (Bantam Books), and serving as an official government delegate to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. In 1998, Wilson founded The White House Project in recognition of the need to build a truly representative democracy, one where women lead alongside men in all spheres. Since its inception, The White House Project has been a leading advocate and voice on Women’s leadership. Before she took the helm at The White House Project, Wilson was, for nearly two decades, the President of the Ms. Foundation for Women. She is an honorary founding mother of the Ms. Foundation. In honor of her work, the Ms. Foundation has created The Marie C. Wilson Leadership Fund.

UMass Boston