Pat's Open Road

PAT SCHROEDER

Former Congresswoman/CEO
Association of American Publishers

“If you think you want to try it, and you can try it, why not try it?”

INTERESTS:

Politics

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Chance Education Culture Choices

TAGS:

being a woman, election, frustration, generation, generations, Harvard, health, law school, Richard Nixon, safety, security, the White House, traditions, women

BIOGRAPHY:

The Harvard law student who feared she was a lagger because she was less preoccupied with her career than many of her classmates—she was one of fifteen women in a class of more than five hundred men—soon proved she had nothing to worry about. Unafraid to try something new, Pat Schroeder ran for Congress in 1972 when her name unexpectedly came up as a Democratic nominee in the Denver race. Not only did she win that election, but she held her seat as a Representative from Colorado for twenty-four years. Always open to new challenges, she even ran for president. Despite her conviction that women were as qualified as men to hold public office, she encountered more resistance, and more obstacles, than she had expected. Schroeder shares a telling example of how she coped with double standards: After winning her first election, people constantly asked her how she could be a congresswoman and a mother, whereas these same people would never ask a man how he could be a member of Congress and a father. Her retort: "It's simple. I got a brain, I got a uterus, and they both work." As Schroeder recalls, "This was '72, and they went nuts." Satisfied that she has tried the things she wanted to do, she encourages young people of this generation to take chances.

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