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Women's Panel Criticizes Sexism

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Three female politicians from Canada, Great Britain and the United States criticized societal perceptions of women in politics before an audience of 450 at the Institute of Politics on Saturday.

"[There] are in fact quite significant cultural barriers in the political process," former prime minister of Canada Kim Campbell said during the panel discussion. While "blatant sexism is less common now, ... we have a built-in perception of who should do the job."

Because of deep-rooted cultural notions, "Bill Clinton can get away with being feminine, but Hillary Clinton cannot get away with being masculine," she said.

Campbell was joined by Baroness Shirley Williams, member of the British House of Lords, and former governor of Oregon Barbara Roberts on the panel, which was part of the four-day International Women's Forum (IWF).

Campbell drew applause from the almost exclusively middle-aged female crowd in response to her comments about the barriers faced by women in politics.

She placed blame on the media, which has a "tendency to treat women as a novelty and personality, instead of for what they have accomplished."

All three panel members voiced their concerns about the lack of political participation on the part of women.

Roberts challenged the audience to "change the measuring stick" of political leadership, which she called "clearly white and clearly male."

Williams praised women for having the gift of conflict resolution and reconciliation needed in war-wrought areas of the world, but referred to the feminist movement in the United States as "a disgrace" and heralded the audience "to stop our gender from being invisible."

According to Williams, "our world is like a one-legged giant," because of "a besetting lack of confidence" among women everywhere.

The IWF attracted almost 600 del- egates from around the world to this year's convention, titled "Women Making History."

Saturday's panel discussion was open to the public, but attracted few non-delegates.

Noting the scarcity of men, young voters and college students, Eustacia L. Reidy '99 said she wished "that more undergraduates could have attended" the event.

Susan Estrich, a columnist who managed Michael S. Dukakis' campaign for the presidency, moderated the discussion

Saturday's panel discussion was open to the public, but attracted few non-delegates.

Noting the scarcity of men, young voters and college students, Eustacia L. Reidy '99 said she wished "that more undergraduates could have attended" the event.

Susan Estrich, a columnist who managed Michael S. Dukakis' campaign for the presidency, moderated the discussion

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