Madeleine M. Kunin, the first female governor of Vermont and Deputy Secetary of Education and Ambassador to Switzerland under President Bill Clinton, is certainly qualified to write a book about women in politics. And she has done an admirable job with Pearls, Politics and Power.
Why should women enter politics? Ms. Kunin makes the case that women bring unique life experiences and viewpoints that help ensure that all members of American society are being represented in the government.Also, while women are tough enough to deal with issues such as war and the economy, they are also likely to be more sensitive to other important issues such as women's rights, child care, health and education. She emphasizes political service on all levels as a "civic duty."
Can women succeed in politics, and once there, make a difference? Through interviews with many women in political positions, Ms. Kunin proves conclusively that they can. The words and experiences of these women who have actually been in the political arena are the most powerful part of the book.
Pearls, Politics and Power offers practical advice for women on how to get started in politics, how to survive the stresses of office, the good and the bad side of being a politician, and how to overcome the difficulties and embrace the strengths of being female in what has traditionally been a man's world.
I was at first distracted by the text boxes which highlight important women and events concerning politics. The short pieces on Abigail Adams, Betty Freiden, Gloria Steinem, and others are interesting and relevant, but their placement on random pages in the chapters interrupts the flow of the text in a way that bothered me a bit. I would have preferred that they be placed between chapters or at the end of chapters, or in a special section of the book. But that is a very small caveat.
Overall, Pearls, Politics and Power is an absorbing and useful book for any woman interested in helping create change through the political process, whether locally or on the national or international scale.