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51% #1643: How Women Are Reshaping Congress

"The Firsts: The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress" paperbook cover
Courtesy of Jennifer Steinhauer
"The Firsts: The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress" paperbook cover

On this week’s 51%, hear from a longtime Capitol Hill reporter on women reshaping Congress. She followed them in 2019.

Veteran New York Times Capitol Hill reporter Jennifer Steinhauer followed the women who, in 2018, were elected as the first representations of different ages, races and religions in Congress. The result is her book, “The Firsts: The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress.” She had insider access in the Capitol, and followed these women, including representatives of “The Squad,” such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, closely for their first year, interviewing them and their staff and colleagues on and around the House floor, reporting on committee meetings, and visiting them in their homes. I spoke with Steinhauer about her book as well as the new Congress for 2021, starting with her take on whether all the attention on AOC was warranted.

That was New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer talking about her book “The Firsts: The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress.” The book will now be available in paperback. She has also written a novel about the television business, and two cookbooks.

In another first in sports, Bianca Smith will be joining the Boston Red Sox as a minor league coach, making her the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball history.

And a diversity study finds increasing numbers of women and people of color in leadership positions at the Football Bowl Subdivision level of college athletics for 2020, though not enough to overcome a significant “underrepresentation.” A recent report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) issued slightly improved grades of a B- for racial hiring and a D-plus overall compared to the 2019 edition, which had issued a C for racial hiring and a D overall. The gender-hiring grade in both reports was an F.

The study examined positions at 130 FBS-level schools such as university presidents or chancellors, athletics directors, faculty athletics directors and conference commissioners. It relied on data as recent as November and submitted by the NCAA. Institute director and lead report author Richard Lapchick emphasized gains such as women going from making up 35.7 percent of faculty athletics representatives in 2019 to 40.3 percent in 2020. 

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Tina Renick for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio

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