"The primary campaign was illuminating in showing that even the most liberal men did not regard the absence of women from the Senate as a grievous wrong that should be remedied....Other women candidates and I have learned the hard way that although a liberal male politician may take the correct stand on women's issues, he cannot be counted on to advance the democratic principle of women's representation if he himself feels threatened by competition....
"Until recently, many women candidates made a point of insisting that they were not running because they were women.... This might be the correct policy in a unisex world, but when last I looked we were still living in a society that blatantly discriminates against women and shortchanges their particular needs. Pretending that being a woman will not affect your interests or performance in Congress is an approach that will neither mobilize a large women's vote nor convince women that they will be electing a representative more attuned to their needs and goals than the average male politician. If a woman candidate says, "Judge me as you would a man," it encourages voters to regard political office as the natural habitat of men, who provide the role models that a woman must emulate to succeed. This is a mistake. Women candidates have special strengths and should not try to conceal them."
1. Entire quote is from Bella Abzug, Gender Gap: Bella Abzug's Guide to Political Power for American Women, with Mim Kelber (Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1984) 182-8.
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