Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not unfamiliar with sexism in politics. But over the weekend, she explained exactly how women are affected by a political system riddled by latent sexist sentiments.
Appearing on Melissa Harris Perry’s show on MSNBC, Pelosi argued that women are unfairly judged for being equally tough as their male counterparts. This, she explained, makes it hard to increase the number of women in politics, especially in the current, high-conflict Congress:
PELOSI: I really believe as a woman in politics, and one of my goals and a crusade I’m on is always to increase the number of women in politics. I don’t think it’s really possible as long as we’re playing on a playing field created by others where money, money, money, money is the currency of the realm where it should be ideas, ideas, ideas, and that the stridency, the harshness, they suffocate the system with money, they suppress the vote, and they poison the debate. That’s not a good formula for women because women need to have a civil conversation. The minute a woman gets tough in the debate, you know what people say about her.
The world of fundraising is equally challenging to women, who might have a harder time gaining credibility among wealthy donors — who, for other gender-driven reasons, are mostly male.