Women’s March leaders take message to Detroit as Women’s Convention begins

The movement looks ahead following the success of January’s march, as prominent activists and politicians address the theme of ‘reclaiming our time’

Source: Women’s March leaders take message to Detroit as Women’s Convention begins | World news | The Guardian

Military Sexual Assault Bill Expected To Come To Vote This Week


Military Sexual Assault Bill Expected To Come To Vote This Week

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), which removes prosecution of sexually violent crimes in the military from the chain-of-command, is expected to come to a vote in the Senate this week.

The MJIA, which was previously part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) but will now be voted on as a stand-alone measure as S. 1752 , would move “the decision whether to prosecute any crime punishable by one year or more in confinement to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors, with the exception of crimes that are uniquely military in nature.”

Military sexual assault has reached epidemic proportions. An estimated 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact and sexual assaults occurred in 2012, according to a report by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program of the Department of Defense. 25 percent of women and 27 percent of men who experienced unwanted sexual contact said the offender was in their military chain of command, and 50 percent of female victims said that they did not report the crime because they thought nothing would come of their report.

“The men and women of our military deserve better,” Gillibrand told The Washington Post. “They deserve to have unbiased, trained military prosecutors reviewing their cases, and making decisions based solely on the merits of the evidence in a transparent way.” Gillibrand says she now has 53 Senators who have agreed to vote in the bill’s favor. She will need to have 60 to ensure it is not defeated by a filibuster.

The Obama administration has been taking other steps to prevent and reduce sexual assault in the military as well. Under the 2014 NDAA, an individual in the military who sexually assaults another will face dishonorable discharge, and commanders will not be able to overturn jury decisions. Legal assistance will be provided for victims, and retaliation against a victim will be punished. Obama also called for a year-long review of military sexual trauma and the steps being taken to reduce it in December.

TAKE ACTION: Help us take on military sexual assault in the military. Email your senators to tell them that we must change the current system of handling sexual assault cases.

Media Resources: The Washington Post 2/9/14; Politico 2/6/14; Gillibrand.senate.gov; Feminist Newswire 11/22/13, 12/23/13, 1/2/14;


Women are Wielding Notable Influence in Congress

Women are Wielding Notable Influence in Congress

By Ed O’Keefe, Published: January 16

After decades of trying to amass power, several women have vaulted to the top of influential congressional committees, putting them in charge of some of the most consequential legislation being considered on Capitol Hill.

The $1.1 trillion spending plan Congress approved this week was the handiwork of Senate Appropriations Com­mittee Chairman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and her House counterpart, Harold Rogers (R-Ky.).

In December, when lawmakers approved a budget deal with big majorities in both chambers, credit went to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Next month, when attention will turn to passing a farm bill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who has spent three years working on the measure with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank D. Lucas (R-Okla.), will be at the center of the action. Leaders and aides in both chambers expect the bill to pass.

And women’s influence extends beyond the marquee legislation to other policy areas.

Last year, seven women on the Senate Armed Services Committee took the lead on writing a historic plan to revamp how the military handles cases of sexual assault and rape. It was included in the annual Pentagon policy bill.

In coming weeks, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will begin a debate about reforming the National Security Agency, and her home-state colleague, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), negotiated a major water and public works bill last year.

Mikulski was quick to note the role that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) often plays in these very partisan times; Collins has been the key GOP power broker in tough negotiations between warring factions.

In recent months, while the country has been distracted by extended disagreements in Washington, led mostly by men, a cast of powerful female lawmakers has been amassing some notable victories.

This success is partly coincidence and partly the natural evolution of the old order. Seniority has produced a series of female heads of committees responsible for some of the most important, and often most controversial, legislation before Congress.

After last year’s historically unproductive session, 2014 has been devoted to completing difficult work left over, and there’s a feeling among many people that some corners of Congress are starting to function differently because of the power that women now hold.

Collins lauded the female senators for getting together frequently for informal dinners designed to provide space to talk about things other than work. But she said other important factors also are at play.

“One is the collaborative style that I think women as a whole . . . bring to legislating,” she said. “Second is that we’re in key positions and that allows us to shape legislation more directly. And third is that we do trust each other.”

Trust is a scarce commodity in the Capitol these days.

“It’s not surprising that every time I’ve passed a piece of legislation, I’ve had a strong Republican woman helping me across the aisle,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in a recent interview. “Women are often very good at finding common ground and building bipartisan support.”

The achievements make Mikulski especially proud. She’s the ­longest-serving woman in the Senate and praises Republican and Democratic women in both chambers for bringing a different approach to negotiations that men have long dominated.

“While we work on the macro issues, we also work on macaroni-and-cheese issues,” she said.

Murray was more direct: “I think women, in general, across the country will tell you that a lot of them manage their own checkbooks and make decisions about their families. And that’s what women do here in the United States Senate now.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a freshman lawmaker and veteran of the Iraq war, noted that most of the women cutting deals were mentored through the years by older male colleagues — just as she was while serving in uniform.

“Maybe there’s something about the fact that they climbed the ranks against high odds that made them able to negotiate these tough bills,” Duckworth said.

In an interview, Mikulski recalled the first time she walked into a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee. She was the only woman assigned to the panel. “I was at the end of the table, I was at the bottom of the line, but when I walked into the Appropriations room — this beautiful room that is longer and wider than my house in Fells Point — I was awestruck by all that had gone on there,” the Baltimore native said.

She said the late senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), a longtime appropriator, quickly took her under his wing and frequently reminded her of Congress’s constitutional responsibility to control the government’s spending habits.

“He taught me to love and understand the Constitution of the United States, to follow the rules, to obey the law and fight like hell for what you believe in,” she said.

On Wednesday, Rogers, the Appropriations chairman, seemed especially pleased with the result of his work with Mikulski. “I can’t think of a more satisfying time that I have had in this chamber in all these years,” he said on the House floor.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) praised Mikulski on Thursday, saying, “I don’t know if anyone else could have done what she did working with the Republicans in the House.”

Stabenow suggested that women remember to play nice.

“It’s important to share credit with other people,” she said. “It’s important to worry less about who gets credit and more about getting things done.”

Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.), who has led farm-bill talks with Stabenow, Lucas and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), said that having Stabenow in the room has made a difference. “I think she’s more tenacious, but more diplomatic, than a guy,” he said.

Several female House Republicans are pushing for changes to the Affordable Care Act but haven’t found sufficient support in the Senate. Only one woman, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), has been directly engaged in long-stalled talks on immigration reform — the next big issue that many lawmakers are likely to tackle. And there’s no guarantee that Mikulski and Murray will be able to strike similar budget and appropriations deals later this year.

Collins urged them to keep reaching across the aisle — and not to forget about the men.

“We have many good male members of the Senate as well, and I would not want to see an all-female Senate any more than I would want to see an all-male Senate,” she said. “I don’t think either would be healthy.”

The FAMILY Act is Badly Needed to Update the Outdated Workplace Policies That Are Hurting America’s Families

The FAMILY Act is Badly Needed to Update the Outdated Workplace Policies That Are Hurting America’s Families.

New Proposal Would Fulfill Promise of the FMLA, Says Leading Champion of Both Bills
WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 12, 2013 —
Most Americans have no access to paid leave when babies are born or serious personal or family medical needs arise, but that will change when Congress passes the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. This badly needed legislation was introduced for the first time today by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D – N.Y.) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D – Conn.). It would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, bringing the country’s employment safeguards in line with the needs of its workforce and with the rest of the world.

“No legislation would do more to make this a family friendly nation than the FAMILY Act. It is simply unacceptable that millions of Americans work hard every day, yet are one birth, accident or illness away from financial devastation because our public policies fail to provide paid leave,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. The National Partnership wrote and led the effort to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), which is the only federal law designed to help people manage job and family. The organization is now leading the more than 415-group coalition pushing for the FAMILY Act. “The FMLA was a great first step, but it cannot be the last – especially as the nation faces a tsunami of elder care needs. With the FAMILY Act, Congress can fulfill the promise of the FMLA and better meet the needs of working families, employers and our economy.”

Just 12 percent of U.S. workers have paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have paid medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program. Of the 188 countries for which data are available, the United States is one of just seven that do not guarantee paid maternity leave. For the past 20 years, the FMLA has guaranteed unpaid leave and job protection for serious family and medical reasons. But, despite the law’s success, the most common reason cited by those who are eligible for FMLA leave but do not take it is that they cannot afford to do so.

The FAMILY Act would solve that by creating a new, self-sustaining fund to ensure employees can earn a portion of their wages for up to 12 weeks (or 60 workdays) to address their own serious health issue, including pregnancy and childbirth; to deal with the serious health issue of a parent, spouse, domestic partner or child; to care for a newborn or newly adopted child; and/or for specific military-related purposes. It would be funded through employee and employer contributions of about $1.50 per week each for a median wage worker in the United States. The program is modeled on similar programs in California and New Jersey; Rhode Island will soon have a paid family leave program as well.

Nationally, the type of program the FAMILY Act would establish has the support of business owners and the public. According to a Small Business Majority poll, more small employers say they support paid family and medical leave insurance than oppose it. And a 2012 election poll commissioned by the National Partnership found that 86 percent of voters – including 96 percent of Democrats, 87 percent of independents and 73 percent of Republicans – believe it is important for Congress and the president to consider a family and medical leave insurance system.

“It is time for the country to adopt a paid family and medical leave program. We must end the days when people lose a paycheck or a job because they have a baby, get seriously ill or have a loved one who needs care,” Ness continued. “We are urging Congress to build upon the FMLA and give hardworking Americans the support they urgently need. The FAMILY Act is based on successful paid leave insurance programs, and it has widespread support. Its passage should be a high priority for all federal lawmakers.”

For more information on the FAMILY Act and to find out more about the extensive body of research on the benefits of paid leave, visit www.NationalPartnership.org/theFAMILYAct.

This release is also available in Spanish here.


Sadie Kliner (202) 986-2600 skliner@nationalpartnership.org
The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

The Forgotten 14% — Our Female Vets | Martha Burk

The Forgotten 14% — Our Female Vets | Martha Burk.

Martha Burk
Martha BurkMoney Editor, Ms. magazine; director, Corporate Accountability Project, National Council of Women’s Organizations

When Veterans Day was started in 1918 as a way to honor World War I vets, it was originally called Armistice Day. Back then, even though women served in the military, they weren’t officially recognized as veterans and given veterans benefits (that wouldn’t happen for another quarter century). Times have obviously changed. Today, women serve in all branches of the armed forces, and constitute 14 percent of the veteran population.

Most people would agree that how we treat our vets is a measure of our character as a country. We do pretty well in some areas, but fall down in others. Homelessness is one of the worst. It’s way too high for both male and female vets — and this is one place where women are catching up to men. Men constitute 86 percent of active duty forces, and make up 90 percent of the homeless veteran population. For women, the numbers are 14 percent and 10 percent respectively.

But the reasons are different.

Substance abuse and mental illness are leading causes for male returnees. Women can suffer from those too, and they also face barriers like a harder time finding a job and/or VA supported family housing. But unlike the men, homelessness for our female ex-soldiers actually takes root before they leave the military. Experts agree that a huge contributing factor is sexual trauma from rapes and other assaults during their service. Because they couldn’t report the crimes, or were punished when they did, many women suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and lose their jobs, families, and ultimately their homes.

Though 26,000 sexual assaults occurred 2012-06-12-yourvoicesmallest2.JPGlast year, only 3,374 were officially reported, and a miniscule 300 were prosecuted. According to the Defense Department, reports are up over 50 percent in the first three quarters of this year.

One reason the great majority of sexual assaults are not reported — or the victims instead of the perpetrators are punished — is the military chain of command. Victims must report crimes to those who oversee their careers, and commanders have final say over whether criminal charges are brought in military courts. That means all too often attackers get off with a slap on the wrist, or the “she wanted it” defense is accepted. Even if they’re convicted, the boss can overturn the jury verdict with the stroke of a pen.

A bill sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY and supported by women’s groups would put military prosecutors in charge, instead of commanders. The military, aided by their lap dogs on the Armed Services Committee, is backing a weaker bill sponsored by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). That one would do away with the ability to overturn jury verdicts and mandate dishonorable discharge or dismissal for those convicted, but otherwise keep the good ol’ boy chain of command in place for deciding who gets prosecuted in the first place.

Right now the brass is winning the argument. Gillibrand’s bill is 13 short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster, even though all of the Democratic women except McCaskill and two of the four Republican female senators have signed on.

Meanwhile, too many of our female vets are falling into homelessness. How many more will sleep in shelters or the streets until justice is served?

11-7-2013 Military Sexual Assault Alert from NOW

The National Organization for Women.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) bill, the Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 967), that would establish an independent, objective and unbiased military justice system to better respond to the epidemic of sexual assault in the U.S. military will soon come to a floor vote in the Senate. Military leaders have been claiming since 1992 that there will be “zero tolerance” of sexual assault, yet there were 26,000 incidents of sexual assault and unwanted sexual touching that were reported in FY 2012. It is clear that the current system of military “justice” does not work and must be changed.

Our major allies, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and Israel along with many other nations, years ago moved disposition of sexual assault crimes out of the chain of command to be handled independently by trained prosecutors. The U.S. should do the same.

TAKE ACTION: Your email message and your call – yes, please also call your senators – could make the critical difference. It is likely to be a close vote and senators need to hear from the grassroots that we demand justice for survivors. It is a broken system that will remain broken unless Congress requires a fundamental reform of the process. Please make that call today: tell them you want an independent, objective and unbiased military justice system that deals promptly and effectively with all reports of sexual crimes.

In order to address your message to the appropriate recipient, we need to identify where you are.
Please look up and use your full nine-digit zip for the best results.
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The 2012 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military disclosed the shocking information that the anonymously reported number of sexual assaults and unwanted sexual touching (both women and men) rose in every branch of the military by 35 percent between FY 2010 and FY 2012 to total 26,000 in 2012. Yet only 3,374 sexual assaults were officially reported that year, with just 300 cases prosecuted.

Independent Military Prosecutor Would Decide – Sen. Gillibrand has carefully crafted legislation that would allow trained military prosecutors to decide, independently of the accused’s or victim’s chain of command, whether and how to prosecute an alleged sexual assault. This is the juncture at which that current system fails victims because superiors are too often dismissive of such claims. We know that many sexual assault survivors do not report out of a concern that they will not be taken seriously or, worse, suffer retaliation. S. 967 would place in the hands of high-ranking, experienced military prosecutors the decision whether to proceed. Offenses which are uniquely military in nature, such as disobeying a command or being absent without leave, would remain within the chain of command.

DACOWITS Recommends Independent Prosecutor – The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service (DACOWITS) which is composed of civilian women and men who are appointed by the Secretary of Defense to provide advice and recommendations on key policies affecting women in the service is backing a professionalized, independent approach. The DACOWITS statement notes that “because a commander often supervises both the victim and the accused perpetrator, this decision-making poses an inherent conflict of interest.”

Their recommendation:
DoD should support legislation to remove from the chain of command the prosecution of military cases involving serious crimes…. Instead the decisions to prosecute, to determine the kind of court martial to convene, to detail the judges and members of the court martial, and to decide the extent of punishment, should be placed in the hands of the military personnel with legal expertise and experience and who are outside the chain of command of the victim and the accused.
Other Nations Have Separate Systems – Key U.S. allies have adopted similar reforms. British military trial decisions for all crimes are made by trained prosecutors in the Service Prosecuting Authority, part of Britain’s Ministry of Defence. Canada, Australia, Israel and other major nations have removed the sexual assault reporting system from the chain of command. These countries have found that a command-driven system – like the U.S. military has — more likely violates a defendant’s right to a fair and impartial trial. Military superior officers in many cases are not trained to deal with serious crime and should not be in the role of deciding whether to prosecute.

Sen.Gillibrand’s bill would also:
Adopt in law Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposal to prevent senior commanders, or convening authorities, from overturning a conviction by a military court or from changing a court’s guilty finding to a lesser offense. It also requires commanders to justify in writing any changes made to court-martial sentences.
Gives the authority to establish courts, empanel juries and chooses judges to hear cases to the Chiefs of Staff of each service branch.
Ensure commanders retain the authority to punish alleged perpetrators through other means such as non-judicial punishment if a military prosecutor determines there is insufficient evidence to take a case to a court-martial.
S. 967 further calls for an independent panel established by the DOD secretary to monitor and assess the implementation of the act and its amendments. Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) has introduced the House counterpart ( H.R. 2016) to Gillibrand’s legislation. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has introduced several bills related to sexual assault in the military; her key bill is S. 1032, Better Enforcement for Sexual Assault Free Environments Act, which would strip the high-ranking commander’s ability to overturn jury convictions of those under their command, install a civilian review to study instances in which prosecution was not pursued, mandate harsher punishments in the form of dishonorable discharges for anyone convicted, eliminate the statute of limitation in sexual assaults and, for the first time, criminalize retaliation against individuals reporting themselves as the victim of a sexual crime. Undoubtedly, there are a number of important improvements in this bill, but it fails to address the core problem: that is, the decision to proceed with prosecution is left in the hands of an accused’s or victim’s commander who is not a prosecutor and who likely has an inbuilt conflict of interest.

Pressure from the Pentagon – Reportedly, pressure is intense coming from the top brass to retain the current system. In June, the military leaders teamed up with Senate Armed Services Committee chair, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), and others to defeat Sen. Gillibrand’s bill in committee. In messages sent at the time, NOW activists demanded a full Senate vote on S. 967. The bill currently has 46 co-sponsors and supporters from both parties. Another two or three un-named senators may be supportive, but most likely we will need to gain enough votes (at least 60) to overcome a filibuster threat. We expect the S.967 to be offered when the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act which could happen anytime between Nov. 12 and Thanksgiving.

Reports of sexual assaults in the military spike nearly 50 percent – U.S. News

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Reports of sexual assaults in the military spike nearly 50 percent – U.S. News.

There were 3,553 sexual assault complaints from July 2012 through June — a sharp uptick from 2,434
reports during the same reporting period the previous year.
And the reports of sexual assault — which range from unwanted touching and groping to penetration —
increased in all four branches of the armed forces and the National Guard, according to the Defense
While statistics for the full fiscal year are not yet available, the Defense Department received more reports
of sexual assaults in the first three quarters of Fiscal Year 2013 than in the entire run of Fiscal Year 2012.
It was not immediately clear whether the surge of complaints represented an increase in assaults, an
increase in the percentage of people reporting them, or both, according to the Associated Press.
The new data come as part of a two-day public meeting of an independent panel probing reports of an
epidemic of sexual assaults in the military, the wire service reported.
And the new statistics come just weeks before the Senate will review a proposal to change how the
military justice system handles sexual assaults.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who has spearheaded calls for a change and drawn national attention to
the issue, is widely expected to press her colleagues to attach her measure as an amendment to the
yearly defense policy bill.
Gillibrand on Wednesday was present at an emotional news conference along with Ariana Klay — who
says she was gang-raped at the barracks in August 2010 — as well as retired military members, victims’
advocates and a bipartisan group of senators who support her legislation.
“Sexual assault in the military is not new,” Gillibrand said. “It has been allowed to fester in the shadows for
far too long.”
She added: “What we really have today is zero accountability. There is no accountability because the trust
that any justice is possible has been irreparably broken under the current system where commanders hold
all the cards as to whether a case will move forward or not.”
At the news conference, Ben Klay, Ariana’s husband, delivered a gut-wrenching statement in which he
recounted his wife’s horrific experience and strongly condemned the military justice system.
“I read her commander’s conclusions, in writing, that she (Ariana) deserved ill treatment for wearing
running shorts and makeup,” he said, as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., standing to his left, shook his head in
“I read the opinion of the command-appointed investigator, who compared rape to prostitution or marrying
a rich man. As for the assault trial, it put Ariana through over fifteen hours of degrading testimony after a
year of retaliation and intimidation. The closing statement of that trial was a Marine officer reading the
definition of ‘c—,’ ‘slut,’ and ‘whore,’” Ben Klay said, his voice brimming with indignation and anger.
He added that when he arrived to testify, he was seated near one of the rapists — who was granted
immunity so he could testify in his own defense.
As he praised his wife for enduring miserable treatment, Ben broke down crying, while Gillibrand and Paul
appeared to fight back tears.
In her statement, Ariana Klay — flanked by visibly moved Gillibrand and Paul — described her painful and
humiliating experience under the military justice system.
“It is impossible to expect justice in a legal system run primarily by commanders with no legitimate legal
training,” she said, later adding that she doesn’t see herself as a victim or survivor but as a “leader and…
an advocate for change.”
The legislation on the table would eliminate commanders from the process of judging whether serious
crimes — including cases of sexual assaults — go to trial, according to the AP. It would hand
decision-making authority to experienced trial lawyers who have credentials as prosecutors and hold the
rank of colonel or higher.
This fiscal year also saw a large jump in the total number of service members who reported a sexual
assault that occurred before they entered the military.
One senior defense official told NBC News that the Pentagon is still crunching those numbers, but said
current estimates are that 9 percent to 10 percent of the total number of reports stemmed from incidents
that occurred before the individual reporting entered the military — a jump from 2.1 percent during the
same reporting period in Fiscal Year 2012.
The senior defense official praised this increase, saying it shows victim confidence in the Defense
Department’s response and support system.
In August, President Barack Obama sharply condemned the spate of sexual assaults within the military,
telling a crowd of Marines Aug. 7 that the crimes and allegations threaten to undercut the military’s
“It undermines what this military stands for and what the Marine Corps stands for when sexual assault
takes place within our units,” Obama told a crowd at Camp Pendleton.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

A Woman For President In 2016? Democrats Have A Choice Of Four –

A Woman For President In 2016? Democrats Have A Choice Of Four –.

The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) recently named eight Democrats who might run for president in 2016. The surprise in their calculations is that four of them are women.

Hillary is still the woman at the forefront.
Hillary Clinton has long been assumed to be the front-runner, and that hasn’t changed in the CSM‘s opinion. According to a CNN poll, 65% of Democratic primary voters want her to be their party’s nominee. However, in politics, nothing is a given. A couple of the possible women candidates listed by the publication are younger and less experienced than Clinton, but are steadily climbing the ladder of accomplishment and recognition.

Elizabeth Warren isn’t far behind.
The next strongest woman candidate would be the current sweetheart of leftists, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. While she professes to be uninterested in running for president, Warren once took the same position in regard to running for senator. And look where she is now! Last year, the Washington Post had already included her on their list of the five Democrats most likely to end up as the nominee in 2016.

Both publications currently cite a Quinnipiac University poll, released in August, as a reason for having Warren on their lists. Pollsters told respondents that, as they were read the names of politicians, they should rate them according to the following instructions. “You can choose any number between 0 and 100. The higher the number, the warmer or more favorable you feel toward that person, the lower the number, the colder or less favorable.”

Chris Christie came in first with a ‘warmness’ score of 53.1, Hillary Clinton was second at 52.1, and Elizabeth Warren was third at 49.2. In contrast to the previous two, 51% of voters didn’t know enough about her to rate her. However, in the estimation of the Washington Post, Warren’s score is a reflection of the depth of passion her supporters feel toward her. Her greatest strength is that she is a true champion of the people. Combine that with her willingness to take on Wall Street and the big banks and it’s easy to see the source of voters’ passion.

Kirsten Gillibrand is a woman on a mission.
The third woman to make the CSM list is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Gillibrand is making a name for herself as a defender of women’s rights. Like a dog with a bone, she’s tackling the issue of sexual assault in the military. Her solution is in defiance of the Pentagon. She insists that military prosecutors, not commanding officers, need to decide who to try in sexual assault cases. The senator’s determination comes from cases where prosecution has been halted or guilty verdicts dismissed when left to the military chain of command.

Gillibrand is not only popular in her state, but she ranked fifth in the Quinnipiac ‘warmness’ poll of national politicians, with a score of 47.6. When she took Hillary’s vacated seat in the U.S. Senate, she also began adopting more progressive issues and making them her own. This is a change from when she was a U.S. Representative from a rural district. Gillibrand supports limits on gun trafficking, is looking for a moderate stance on immigration, and is a prolific fundraiser.

The dark horse candidate is from Minnesota.
The final woman on the CSM list actually got an honorable mention from the Washington Post last year as well, even though she’s a true unknown to most of the nation. She is Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Rank-and-file Democrats may not be familiar with her, but she has apparently been on the radar of the party’s leadership for some time. She won her second Senate term last year with 65% of the vote. And she keeps showing up at events in the early caucus state of Iowa.

Klobuchar is a former county prosecutor with a reputation for toughness. She was the first woman Minnesota ever sent to the U.S. Senate. In that chamber, she’s known for her ability to reach across the aisle to make a deal. Minnesotans see her as a hands-on politician who travels to every county in the state each year to hear their concerns. Basically, she earned status as a populist who, like Elizabeth Warren, is ready to go to bat for the little people

So, are we going to have a woman president in 2016? You betcha. The country is ripe for the change a woman would represent. The Democratic field is surprisingly rich in potential candidates. And we women are rolling up our sleeves, determined to make it happen!