NU Women’s Center celebrates 25th anniversary

Christine Nguyen

When political commentator and analyst Dee Dee Myers graduated from college in 1983, no woman had ever been an astronaut, the solo anchor of a network news program, the president of an Ivy League college or Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Although women have now occupied all these positions, Myers, the author of “Why Women Should Rule the World,” said women still have a long way to go in a speech commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Northwestern Women’s Center on Thursday.

“There is still a lot of territory to cover,” Myers said. “Progress is inevitable, but it is very important for women to know that no trajectory is ever a straight line up. There are always obstacles of some kind, setbacks along the way.”

Myers was the first woman to serve as the White House Press Secretary under former President Bill Clinton. She also worked as a consultant for the NBC political drama, “The West Wing,” and is currently a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.

“It’s always good to learn from someone who has held such a prominent position, especially in the government where women are underrepresented,” said attendee Jordan Young, administrative assistant for the Medill-McCormick Knight News Innovation Lab.

Rather than championing complete equality for men and women, Myers emphasized the differences between the genders, maintaining women should rule the world alongside men, not in place of them.

Women have different life experiences and strengths that make them a valuable asset to the work force, Myers said.

“If men and women are the same, the male way of doing things is the norm, and we will never be as good at being men as men are,” she said. “So what we have to do is acknowledge that there are some differences, but that we both are important and equally valuable.”

The Women’s Center hosted the event in conjunction with the Office of the Provost, the Organization of Women Faculty, the Association of Northwestern University Women, and the Department of Radio, TV & Film.

“We’re constantly interested in looking at how women are doing, what’s keeping us from moving forward and how we can improve,” Women’s Center Director Renée Redd said. “As a society, we undervalue women’s contributions, so when you’re fighting to gain gender equity, you’re fighting people’s attitudes.”

Throughout her speech, Myers emphasized one main message.

“It’s not an argument about political correctness,” she said. “It’s an argument about our self-interest. We shouldn’t do this because it’s nice or even because it’s right. We should do it because it’s smart.”

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