All of them experienced versions of being ignored, struggling to be recognized, and extra scrutiny from male colleagues. Although they differ in political parties and philosophies, they were often the only woman in the room. Today, the new team leading committees and offices that control U.S. spending is made up of all women.
Senator Patty Murray remembered having to stand up and wave to catch the attention of the men running negotiations from the center of the room. Now, her name is etched in gold at the center of the table.
Accompanying her are frescoes of Roman goddesses and a crystal chandelier. She is now the Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. A woman whose family once relied on food stamps, she is now in charge.
Among those in the group is the first black woman to head the Office of Management and Budget: Shalanda Young: “with this group, I know that they care more about what’s best for the American people.” We may now hope that a huge bill won’t be rammed through Congress under threat of a shutdown.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine said: “We do bring different experiences, and in my experience, are often more collaborative than our male counterparts.” She expressed the hope that although it will be difficult, they will work together as a team.
Senator Murray said: “we often think of our families in our communities.” She sees it as “an opportunity for women to really work on making sure their country is OK.”
Acknowledging that this work has tremendous power, Ms. DeLauro, a top Democrat from Connecticut, believes it can potentially transform people’s lives.
Although this a time of divided government where a major clash between Democrats and Republicans is anticipated, the women hope to bring some sanity and orderliness to the process. They are determined to find success. They’ve weathered shutdowns, and threats of default – managing to turn spending packages into law during the last two years. They’ve worked on defense, national security transportation, and education. These issues are important to women. Friends and colleagues for years, sharing respect as well as expertise, prospects seem good.
We look forward to the product of this work. For the very first time, the all-women team will come up with a budget that will reflect the sentiments and values they expressed. We have every expectation that it will transform people’s lives.