Where Were the Women at the Health-Care Summit?

   •    February 28, 2010

This article was originally published by The Daily Beast.

Much has been made about how little agreement and goodwill emerged from the recent health-care summit. And perhaps that was to be expected. But something struck me before any of the opening statements were read or the debate got under way: Where were all the women?

If more women were in the room, might the debate have been different? If there were more women in Congress (which is around 17 percent female), might our politics be less rancorous and might our elected officials get more accomplished? There’s a school of thought that is emerging that suggests the answer is yes.

In January, a remarkable group of women from around the world came to the United States for an annual leadership program run by Swanee Hunt, who was the U.S. ambassador to Austria in the 1990s. Hunt founded a nonprofit organization that runs what she calls the Institute for Inclusive Security. It includes two weeks of workshops at Harvard University, where she teaches a public-policy class. It then culminates in a trip to Washington for more workshops and a chance to meet some of the heads of our own government.

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