Gwen’s Take: Women’s Voices – Three Ways To Get Heard

 

I met a member of a dying breed this week. But I had to leave Washington and travel to Pittsburgh to do it.

 

There, on the campus of Chatham University, I made the reacquaintance of Elsie Hillman, who has spent a lifetime in philanthropy and politics. She is a champion of diversity, of women’s leadership and she supports abortion rights.

 

She helped create one of her city’s first informal hospices for people with AIDS.

 

She is also an 88-year-old Republican.

 

Hillman had no reason to remember when I first came to know her. I was a neophyte political reporter during her years as a powerful Republican national committeewoman. Years later, we met again when she chaired the board for WQED, Pittsburgh’s public television station.

 

I was in Pittsburgh to deliver a lecture for the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University. The center fosters engagement on all level of state and local politics. (Two women are currently competing for the Keystone State’s democratic gubernatorial nomination, for instance.)

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