Jodi Picoult: Justice Kavanaugh should read my book

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Jodi Picoult takes issue with being thought of as a “women’s fiction” writer — especially because she thinks her books could offer some useful lessons for men like Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“Perhaps Brett Kavanaugh could read ‘A Spark of Light,’ because that’s really about women’s reproductive rights,” said Picoult, discussing her latest novel with POLITICO’s Women Rule podcast. “I think it’s extremely important that we recognize what happens when women don’t have a voice.”

Picoult, an author whose books often center on fraught moral dilemmas, wrote “A Spark of Light” to explore the ethical implications surrounding reproductive rights. The novel takes place in Mississippi at a women’s health clinic that provides abortions, and in the opening scene, a gunman opens fire and takes hostages. The book unfolds in reverse, revealing the stories of its varied cast Continue reading “Jodi Picoult: Justice Kavanaugh should read my book”

Former Planned Parenthood head leaves door open to elected office

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Cecile Richards is keeping the door open to a bid for public office.

When asked whether she’s ever thought about running, the former Planned Parenthood president told POLITICO’s Anna Palmer that she has “thought about it.”

“I’ve been an organizer and an agitator, and that’s always been kind of my place,” Richards said in the most recent Women Rule podcast episode, recorded live at the Texas Tribune Festival. “That’s what I’m doing now. … I’m helping every single woman in this country I can get elected in November, because I think it’s going to change our democracy, and I have enormous respect for the women who are in office.”

And then she added this teaser about her own political prospects: “So we’ll see. We’ll see what’s next.”

In the interview, Richards — who left Continue reading “Former Planned Parenthood head leaves door open to elected office”

‘I was typecast as a trophy wife’: The past and future of Jennifer Siebel Newsom

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Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker, actress and women’s rights advocate, could be the next first lady of California.

But that’s not exactly what she wants to be labeled come November, if her husband, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, takes the governor’s mansion.

First “partner” might be a more apt term, Siebel Newsom told POLITICO’s Women Rule podcast, “because we’re going to have a female governor someday soon.” And, she added, “it opens up the opportunity for any couple to really step in, and that’s exciting to me.”

Siebel Newsom’s take on the first lady’s function isn’t the only thing she’d want to do differently in the role.

In the interview with Women Rule, she talked about addressing social and economic immobility in the state by convening policy experts to alleviate California’s “affordability crisis, housing crisis, Continue reading “‘I was typecast as a trophy wife’: The past and future of Jennifer Siebel Newsom”

Why Jane Fonda doesn’t hate Donald Trump

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Jane Fonda doesn’t hate President Donald Trump.

As the actress told POLITICO in the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast, “I hate what he stands for, what he does, what he says.”

But when it comes to who he is as a human being, Fonda urged Americans to express “radical kinship” for the president and his supporters.

“I feel that I understand a little bit — this is a man who was traumatized as a child by his father, who had a mother that didn’t protect him,” she said. “And the behavior is the language of the wounded.”

Since the start of Trump’s presidency and the advent of the #MeToo movement, a number of Hollywood stars have ramped up their political involvement. For some, like Robert De Niro, Kathy Griffin and comedian Michelle Wolf, Continue reading “Why Jane Fonda doesn’t hate Donald Trump”

Dana Perino weighs Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ White House

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If Dana Perino learned anything from serving as the White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, it’s that scrutiny from the press — and everyone else — is part and parcel of the job.

And when it comes to weighing in on Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ performance, Perino at first declined to expound on how she’s handling the job.

“I never grade anyone’s performance,” she said on POLITICO’s Women Rule podcast.

But later Perino — now the Fox News anchor of the afternoon "Daily Briefing" program and a co-host on "The Five" — noted that Sanders “represents her boss very well.”

“We all know that the press secretary’s job is really hard. Hers is probably harder than most,” Perino said.

The Fox News host also acknowledged the different standards for women in the administration’s top Continue reading “Dana Perino weighs Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ White House”

Union leaders move to keep Kavanaugh from Supreme Court

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As Judge Brett Kavanaugh faces Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court, organized labor is unveiling a playbook that may look familiar to Washington Republicans.

“We intend to make it the same thing as repealing” Obamacare, Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, told POLITICO in the latest Women Rule podcast. “We are going to organize the three votes that are required to block this nomination.”

In the labor-themed episode of the podcast, Henry referred to the narrow defeat of Senate Republicans’ efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act last year, when Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted with Democrats to stymie the repeal bill.

Another labor leader, Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, echoed Henry’s protest against Kavanaugh during the podcast: “We cannot Continue reading “Union leaders move to keep Kavanaugh from Supreme Court”

What pundit Allie Beth Stuckey hates about the conservative world

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Prominent pundit Allie Beth Stuckey has no problem talking openly about sexism – but she’s frustrated that her fellow conservatives don’t want to hear it.

“One thing that I hate about being in this world a little bit is that I feel like sometimes as a conservative woman that we’re not allowed to talk about that,” Stuckey said in a recent episode of the Women Rule podcast. “That we’re not allowed to talk about ‘Hey, by the way, sexism does exist,’ and that is kind of sexist that I was just called that. I kind of feel like, ‘Oh no, you have to be in the camp that says sexism isn’t real.’”

But, she added, that’s far from true.

“There’s certainly a double standard for women in this realm,” said Stuckey, who wrote the popular “Conservative Continue reading “What pundit Allie Beth Stuckey hates about the conservative world”

Why Ayanna Pressley is not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Ayanna Pressley, the Boston City councilor running against incumbent Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.), is positioning herself as the outsider looking to change the game in the Massachusetts 7th District.

With headlines pronouncing her the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley acknowledges their similarities as women of color who fought against 10-term congressmen: “Her candidacy — like mine and that of so many throughout the country — challenges conventional narratives and wisdom, disrupts status quo thinking about who has a right to run, when they should run, and whether or not they can win,” she told POLITICO’s Women Rule podcast earlier this summer.

But Pressley’s campaign also allows for this truth: She’s not that much of an outsider.

“If politics is like dog years, you know, I’m probably 80 right now,” Pressley said on the podcast. “Even though Continue reading “Why Ayanna Pressley is not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”

‘Separate the man from the policy’: How one Republican woman runs for Congress in the Trump age

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With Donald Trump as president, it’s not easy running for Congress as a Republican woman this year.

For Lea Márquez Peterson, who’s a GOP primary contender in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, that means having to develop a strategy that both embraces the president’s policies and distances herself from him personally.

“I kind of separate the man from the policy,” said Márquez Peterson, who’s running in a district that Hillary Clinton won by 5 points in the 2016 presidential election. “I mean, there are certainly things he has said that I’ve not agreed with related to women and so on. But if I focus on the policy and things that I can actually impact, that’s where I take my stand.”

On the Women Rule podcast, Márquez Peterson said she hadn’t really “pursued” the president’s support in Continue reading “‘Separate the man from the policy’: How one Republican woman runs for Congress in the Trump age”

Lori Lightfoot pushes back on criticism of Chicago violence

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As gun violence in Chicago reached a fever pitch this summer – and national politicians were quick to lambaste city leaders over the increase in crime – Lori Lightfoot, a candidate for mayor there, is jumping to the city’s defense.

“Even in the most crime-plagued, most economically distressed neighborhood, there are people of goodwill there. There are good things that are happening,” Lightfoot said on the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast, part of its “Tracking the candidates” series. “But what we need is a leader who sees that, recognizes the opportunities, and builds those good things that are happening up to scale and sheds a spotlight on them.”

“Come to Chicago and see, actually, the texture and greatness of our city,” she added.

Lightfoot’s remarks come just as President Donald Trump blamed the Continue reading “Lori Lightfoot pushes back on criticism of Chicago violence”

Why the World Bank is investing in women

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The World Bank has put its money where women-led businesses are – and a year into the investment, it says it’s seeing promising growth.

Priya Basu, head of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, touted the strength of the program in the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast.

“It’s been very challenging in some ways to work with so many stakeholders,” Basu said of We-Fi, the World Bank “start-up” that provides loans, mentorship and other services to women-owned businesses in developing countries. But, she noted, “a very welcome surprise has been that there’s so much commitment around everyone to sort of make this a success.”

According to Basu, We-Fi has already overshot its lifetime goal, which aimed to get a billion dollars in to the hands of women-led businesses by the year 2022.

“For the $120 Continue reading “Why the World Bank is investing in women”

Why Beautycounter’s Gregg Renfrew wants to regulate your makeup

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As celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian lobby Capitol Hill for regulations on cosmetics, the fight is getting another advocate for reform: beauty mogul Gregg Renfrew, the CEO of Beautycounter.

Renfrew, who started her Santa Monica-based beauty brand with a focus on creating products with natural ingredients, says the goal for regulating cosmetics is to ultimately “put some standards in place that would protect the American consumer.”

“We have a $62 billion industry that’s highly — I would say woefully – underregulated,” Renfrew said on the Women Rule podcast, where she called for expanded powers of the Food and Drug Administration and increased transparency on ingredients for cosmetics. “What we as a company are hoping for is that we begin to regulate and screen ingredients before they go into the products that are put on the shelves.”

Continue reading “Why Beautycounter’s Gregg Renfrew wants to regulate your makeup”

Jimmy Choo founder wades into politics and pushes equal pay

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As women continue to take the political spotlight in fighting to close the gender wage gap, Tamara Mellon, co-founder of the Jimmy Choo luxury shoe line, is offering up her own practical advice for those in the workforce who have faced pay inequalities: Be ready to fight for yourself.

“One of the mistakes that I probably made, and what I’m trying to do with this new brand, is teach women to speak up,” Mellon said on the Women Rule podcast.

Mellon, now the founder and chief creative officer of her own eponymous shoe line, said she became an advocate for closing the gender wage gap after her own experiences running Jimmy Choo.

The designer’s moves to advocate for equal pay comes just as women nationwide are making larger pushes for representation in their statehouses and in Congress. Continue reading “Jimmy Choo founder wades into politics and pushes equal pay”

Beto-mania gets serious

The odds are against O’Rourke. But the crowds love him. Will any of that matter in November?

‘We literally show up with our binder full of women’

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Where are all the black women on Capitol Hill?

It’s the question that motivated Rhonda Foxx to form the Black Women’s Congressional Alliance, a coalition of minority staffers from across the political spectrum, and address what she saw as a dire lack of diversity in her workplace.

“We just had the realization that we are underrepresented,” Foxx, chief of staff to Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), said on the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast.

Foxx and Meaghan Lynch, communications director for Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-S.C.), founded the BWCA in January to much fanfare.

Lynch recalled the group’s first informal gathering that month.

“Maybe 150 women showed up,” she said. “We didn’t have speeches or remarks or anything. Everyone just showed up and just talked amongst each other. People didn’t want to Continue reading “‘We literally show up with our binder full of women’”

Napolitano on family separations: ‘I don’t know how this could be justified either legally or morally’

Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is calling President Donald Trump’s recent policies of separating migrant families at the border “cruel” and a “misallocation” of resources by the administration.

In the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast, Napolitano implied that the White House’s “zero-tolerance” policy along the southern border could even be against the law.

“I don’t know how this could be justified either legally or morally,” said Napolitano, who led the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 during the Obama administration. “The notion that you’re going to somehow create a deterrent to illegal immigration through this kind of policy – we’ve seen this before and it just doesn’t work. And it’s cruel.”

What’s more, according to Napolitano, the decision to prosecute illegal border crossers as criminals – rather than in civil deportation proceedings – is a waste of limited federal resources.

“They’re going to Continue reading “Napolitano on family separations: ‘I don’t know how this could be justified either legally or morally’”

Napolitano on family separations: ‘I don’t know how this could be justified either legally or morally’

Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is calling President Donald Trump’s recent policies of separating migrant families at the border “cruel” and a “misallocation” of resources by the administration.

In the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast, Napolitano implied that the White House’s “zero-tolerance” policy along the southern border could even be against the law.

“I don’t know how this could be justified either legally or morally,” said Napolitano, who led the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 during the Obama administration. “The notion that you’re going to somehow create a deterrent to illegal immigration through this kind of policy – we’ve seen this before and it just doesn’t work. And it’s cruel.”

What’s more, according to Napolitano, the decision to prosecute illegal border crossers as criminals – rather than in civil deportation proceedings – is a waste of limited federal resources.

“They’re going to Continue reading “Napolitano on family separations: ‘I don’t know how this could be justified either legally or morally’”

‘Tell everybody’: Alisyn Camerota’s advice for women dealing with sexual harassment

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In the #MeToo era, Alisyn Camerota, a former Fox News anchor, says her advice for women who are being sexually harassed has drastically evolved.

“The sands have shifted beneath our feet, and so it’s a whole new ballgame, new rules,” Camerota said in the latest episode of POLITICO’s Women Rule podcast. “So the new rules for young women making their way in this business or all businesses is: You don’t have to take it.”

“Tell someone. Go to HR,” she said. “If for whatever reason you don’t get satisfaction there, tell everybody. Tell everybody that you can. Tell the person who is doing it: ‘That’s not cool. That makes me uncomfortable. Don’t do that again.’”

Camerota – now a co-anchor on CNN’s “New Day” program and the author of a new novel, “Amanda Wakes Up”—admits Continue reading “‘Tell everybody’: Alisyn Camerota’s advice for women dealing with sexual harassment”

The politics of Christina Tosi

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As prominent figures in Washington’s dining scene get political, Christina Tosi is putting politics aside, even as the Milk Bar chef and owner expands further into the heart of the nation’s capital.

With a new location opening in Washington this week, Tosi emphasized in a recent Women Rule podcast episode that the dessert shop is a “place of inclusion” – whatever your political views.

“Starting Milk Bar – it’s food for the people. It’s baked goods for the people,” Tosi said on the podcast, which was taped at the South by Southwest festival in March. “I was raised by a family that was like, ‘You don’t talk about money at the table, and you don’t talk about politics at the table.’”

Tosi added the caveat that her public apolitical position isn’t “because I don’t have my Continue reading “The politics of Christina Tosi”

‘You’re so beautiful. Men must not know what to do with you.’

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Sally Kohn, a liberal political pundit who previously worked as a Fox News commentator, has opened up about the sexual harassment she faced at the hands of Roger Ailes, the former chairman and CEO of the network.

In a new Women Rule podcast interview with POLITICO, Kohn related two instances in Ailes’ office when she met with him – once before she worked for the network and another just before she left Fox.

“I go into Roger’s office and he tells me I have pretty eyes,” Kohn said. “Five times in like five minutes.”

“Let’s be honest – I think I got off easy, right?” Kohn added of that interaction.

Just before she stopped working at Fox News, Kohn said, she had a final meeting with Ailes, who died last May at age 77.

“He Continue reading “‘You’re so beautiful. Men must not know what to do with you.’”