Spotlight on Leadership: Ayanna Pressley


Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is one of the most exciting rising stars in the country. Since becoming the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council in its 100-year history, she’s pushed a bold agenda and achieves impressive results with trademark pragmatism and passion.

As an outspoken advocate for women and families, Ayanna has tackled the human trafficking crisis, created a pathway to graduation for pregnant and parenting teens, and helped make comprehensive sex and health education available district wide for Boston students. In 2011, she made history again by becoming the first person of color to top the ticket, receiving the most votes of any at-large candidate.

In March 2015, EMILY’s List honored Ayanna with the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. Watch her powerful speech below.

Click here to learn more about Ayanna Pressley

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THE FINE PRINT: When Women Leave Office

AK headshot 1March 5, 2015

By Adrienne Kimmell, Executive Director

Audible disappointment rippled through my office when we heard that Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in Congress, will not seek re-election. This is a huge loss for women in the Senate and across the country.

When women stake their claim in the old boys’ club of politics, the pressure is on to stay put. There’s a certain weight on women to hold on tight for womankind. That type of pressure can’t possibly be there for the (mostly white) men who make up more than 80 percent of Congress. Not in the same way, at least. For women, after the high hurdles of running and winning come the hurdles of staying there.

Take Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example. She has publicly said she doesn’t plan to retire yet, due in part to the fact that she’s not confident a suitable replacement would make it through the process. To be sure, a Supreme Court Justice is different than an elected legislator. But the lesson is the same: Staying in a position they worked so hard to reach must feel like yet another outrageous expectation on these women. They must do damn near everything, lest they let down all women.

As names are floated for Mikulski’s successor, I’m happy to see the short list includes at least one woman.

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Clip of the Week

Pelosi’s birthday wish: An excerpt from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly press conference held in Washington on Thursday.