Her Story Shows Why Women Have to Run, Whether or Not They Win
Geraldine Ferraro finished high school at 16, won a scholarship to college, then took a job teaching second grade in New York, attending Fordham Law School at night. After thirteen years raising her children, she invented the Special Victims Bureau at the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.
In 1978, she was elected to Congress. Then, as if these accomplishments weren’t enough, Ferraro made history as the first woman vice-presidential candidate on a national party ticket in 1984. She inspired countless women, but we got a chance to hear about her legacy from a group of influential women in MAKERS: Women in Politics.
Geraldine Ferraro ran for election in 1984, the same year Senator Tammy Baldwin graduated from college. “I still remember watching Geraldine Ferraro take the stage with tears streaming down my face thinking, ‘My whole future’s ahead of me, and I can do anything," she said.
Nanci Pelosi echoed the sentiment, saying “it was emotional, it was patriotic…we were so proud.”
“It almost didn’t matter in the end that they didn’t win,” Gwen Ifill added, “It was just the symbolism of seeing her there on that stage, going toe-to-toe with her critics, that made people think, ‘Okay, we’ve done something.’”
Amidst studies that say a fear of being underqualified is a major obstacle to women in politics, Ferraro reminds us that running for election can have power on it’s own. Don’t be afraid to lose.