Advice for Political Women

At a panel discussion about women in politics in lower Manhattan last night organized by the state organization of Young Democrats, UFT President Randi Weingarten said that “if women act like men acted publicly, many times they’re viewed as shrill, harsh, tough –”

“The b-word word,” a few people yelled out.

“A bitch,” continued Weingarten.

Chuck Schumer’s deputy state director, Teri Coaxum told the mostly female audience that the key for women in politics is to maintain a certain level of decorum.

“People will, you know, ask inappropriate questions. And my thing is stand for something or fall for anything. Keep your integrity in tact, never compromise your values, and, I’m going to be a little bit blunt: you can’t sleep with everybody you meet. I’m sorry.


The main point is, we’re already seen as sex symbols. End of story. We all talked about it. We’re already seen as sex symbols. You have to keep your integrity in tact. This is business.”

Fellow panelist Gigi Georges, a longtime Hillary Clinton adviser, agreed with Coaxum — to an extent.

“Women have a lot of power in who we are. Frankly, in some ways, women have a lot more power then men in who we are because we’re able to be tough when we need to be, and at the same time, be charming and gracious and yes, a little flirtatious when it works for us.”

State Democratic Party Chair June O’Neill, who introduced the panel, also had some advice for women in politics: Learn to shake hands. “It’s a code,” she said.

— Azi Paybarah

Advice for Political Women