Expanding Political Voices

Author: Mia Alexander | Editor: Elizabeth Qiu

These are opinion pieces authored by Women in Politics Club officers. They do not represent the views of the club nor Churchill as a whole. We hope you bring our new perspectives!

The default belief in most mainstream feminist spaces is that one can simultaneously be a capitalist and a feminist. There are often calls for increasing female representation, diversifying the board room, and electing more women to positions of power. Women are encouraged to take up the mantle of the exploiter, the colonizer, and the oppressor, all in the name of feminism. But can capitalistic oppression and intersectional feminism really coexist? 

Feminism is broadly defined as the advocacy of equal rights between the sexes. However, a more intersectional definition clarifies that its goal “is not to benefit… any specific group of women, [nor] any particular race or class of women” (bell hooks). Feminism’s very definition is antithetical to capitalism because capitalism relies on the exploitation of workers and the unpaid and unappreciated labor of women to survive. Capitalism does nothing to stop the perpetuation of inequality between the sexes. It doesn’t matter if a few corporations promote more women to higher positions, or if our liberal democratic system elects more women. No matter what, capitalism will continue to suppress the rights and freedoms of women, regardless of who’s in charge.

An inconvenient and unglamorous truth that liberal feminists hate to mention is that class and gender are closely tied together. Women are more likely to be food insecure than men in every region of the world. Women also suffer disproportionately from the affordable housing crisis due to the wage gap. Yet, rarely do liberal feminists talk about these issues, because they pose a threat to the neoliberal capitalist consensus of their brand of feminism. Instead, they thrive on methods of tinkering around the edges of the system and meager reforms.

There is a belief that patriarchy can simply be reformed away with increased representation pervades liberal feminism. This belief, however, has often been debunked. For instance, the World Economic Forum found that there was almost no change in the average wage gap between male and female led companies. There’s no doubt that representation does matter, but it’s completely irrelevant when the person in power changes but the same oppressive and exploitative system remains. CEOs regardless of gender have the same priority in mind: profit and growth. CEOs, shareholders, landlords, and other members of the capitalist class rely on a blatantly exploitative system to thrive. That often includes denial of vital benefits for working women, like paid leave. It also manifests in the ever-present wage gap. It doesn’t matter how feminist or how female the leadership of a company is, even if they have the best intentions and truly want to empower women, they can’t when profit is their main priority.

It’s important to recognize that the profit motive is engrained in the capitalist system. As a result, women will continue to be disadvantaged and face continuing inequalities because of the pervasive belief that women are caretakers. Additionally, the election of more female and/or feminist politicians is not enough because they are also bound by the rules of capitalism. Because politics in America are so far skewed to the right, donors won’t even bother approaching more progressive candidates. Even when a progressive politician is elected, any policy that they propose or support will be immediately stricken down by both right leaning and moderate branches of their party. 

Additionally, a politician being a woman doesn’t automatically mean their policies will be good for women’s rights or the broader population. Great examples of this include Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton.

Margaret Thatcher destroyed British industry, deregulated the financial sector, suppressed miner’s strikes with brutal force, and caused massive unemployment in Britain. She also actively opposed feminist goals — she froze benefits for child care, insulted working mothers, and did little to fix systemic problems such as domestic abuse and rape. Even though Thatcher was the first female prime minister of England, she was in a lot of ways horrible for women’s rights and the feminist movement as a whole. 

The same can be said of Hillary Clinton in the United States. Although broadly hailed as a feminist icon, Hillary Clinton has shown to have a horrible record when it comes to feminism and worker’s rights. She encouraged her husband to cut vital social services, which millions of women and children relied on. Then, she sneered at these very women who rely on welfare to raise their children and survive as “dead beats.” She also played an instrumental role in her husband’s campaign to shut down the unions of public school teachers, many of whom were African American women. Hillary isn’t only an enemy to American women, but also an enemy to women in the global south. She lobbied against a fair wage for Haitian women toiling in garment factories as Secretary of State. She also played an important role behind the scenes in supporting a coup in Honduras which led to greater social instability, higher crime, and a resurgence in femicide. Hillary Clinton’s feminism is the type of feminism that only benefits people like her: rich, cisgender white women in the imperial core.

A feminism that doesn’t apply to all misogyny-affected individuals regardless of gender, race, class, etc. isn’t true feminism. Of course, liberal “feminists” might say that any critique of Hillary Clinton is misogynistic and based on internalized misogyny. While there’s no doubt that Hillary Clinton has been the victim of blatant sexism, that doesn’t erase her horrible policy record, nor merit her for canonization. It should also be noted that many female politicians have it significantly worse than Hillary, because of their race, class, immigration status, sexual orientation, political platform, etc. Additionally, representation shouldn’t be done for the sake of representation, but for the sake of providing valuable role models, a position that Hillary has proven horrible at filling. There are many better examples of female representation in politics, including members of the Squad, Nina Turner, and Stacey Abrams.

Representation, while a noble goal, isn’t enough to liberate women. To truly smash the patriarchy, it’s insufficient merely to encourage women to fill the very same roles that oppress and marginalize vast swaths of the population. True liberation comes with the destruction of these oppressive and exploitative positions. Capitalism relies on the patriarchy to survive, and the patriarchy requires capitalism. As long as capitalism exists, so will the oppression of women. It doesn’t matter who’s exploiting the workers by stealing their surplus value, busting the unions, or forcing people into sweatshops. 

As long as these very conditions exist, there is no liberation, and there is no feminism.







Olympic Discrimination Against Black Women

Author: Hanan Ali | Editor: Elizabeth Qiu

These are opinion pieces authored by Women in Politics Club officers. They do not represent the views of the club nor Churchill as a whole. We hope you bring our new perspectives!

Soul Cap

For black female swimmers, the challenges that come with unique hair have been dismissed and overlooked. Luckily, in 2017, a new swimming cap, coined by the name “Soul Cap”, was released to the world by creators Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed-Salawudeen.

The Soul Cap website describes it as an “extra-large swimming cap created for swimmers who struggle with their hair.” These swim caps better accommodate the hairstyles that many African American women have, such as afros, and thick, curly hair. Since natural Black hair is often drier than White hair, it is important to protect it from the pool water that contains bleach, which can cause severe damage.

Many well-known black swimmers—such as Alice Dearing, who qualified to compete on Britain’s swim team—use the Soul Cap. Dearing’s hair is voluminous and would not be preserved in the average swimming cap. In addition, the chemicals in a pool such as chlorine can induce critical damage that can only be treated with extensive time and money. Despite the circumstances, Dearing had been prohibited from using the cap in her first Olympic challenge, the Women’s 10K Marathon Swim.

FINA, a global federation that oversees international competitions in swimming, disproved the use of Soul Caps in the Tokyo Games. Their rationale was that there was no former scenario during which swimmers needed “caps of such size and configuration,” and that the Soul Cap didn’t follow “the natural form of the head.” With that being said, it is a thought-provoking concept—whose head shape is considered “normal,” and whose isn’t?

Black people have had a complex, long-standing relationship with water. In the Jim Crow era in the United States, Black swimmers faced exclusion and bans from pools, and the pools that did accept swimmers of color were often not tended to properly. The dominance of White athletes in swimming is not a coincidence—it is the result of unacknowledged institutional racism. 

Danielle Obe, the chair and a founder of the Black Swimming Association, an organization created to address the need for increased diversity in aquatics, has stated that in order to increase the visibility of Black swimmers, inclusion is a must. 

“We want to be included, all we’re asking for is to have the option to have a piece of equipment that has been designed to cater to the issue of our hair, which is a significant barrier to participation in aquatics as a whole,” Ms. Obe said. “If FINA was aware that was a major barrier for our community, I think that decision would have been made slightly differently.”

An Unfair Approach to Testosterone Levels

Track stars Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma were under the radar prior to the 2021 Olympic games. However, due to the problematic nature of their treatment, they have been receiving an increased amount of attention.

As they returned home from their training in Italy, Beatrice, Christine, and their coach, Heck Botha, learned the news that because their recent test results from endogenous testosterone levels exceeded the World Athletics-mandated limit, they were barred from participating in the Women’s 400M race at the Tokyo Games.

The athletes were surprised by this phone call. These kinds of examinations were a new concept to them, since tests for hormone levels were a relatively new practice and most commonly used with transgender athletes, while both of these athletes were biologically female.

Unfortunately, this situation is a recurring one. In 2018, Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, and Margaret Wambui of Kenya were banned from participating in the Olympics. All of these athletes were supposed to participate in the 800M event in Tokyo, but were flagged because of their testosterone levels.

World Athletics ruled that “to ensure fair competition, women with high natural testosterone levels must take medication to reduce them to compete in middle-distance races”. However, requiring someone to take medication to alter their body, affect their mood, and interfere with their talent, is very controversial. 

“I would ruin the way my body develops because that’ll be something that rearranges everything – how my body functions and everything. I wouldn’t want to be involved in any other things because this is the way my body functions in its normal way. And if I try something else, I might get caught somewhere else, and something might go wrong with my body,” says Masilingi.

This set of regulations was launched by World Athletics as an acknowledgment of the situation of Castor Semenya:

2.3 To be eligible to compete in the female classification in a Restricted Event at an International Competition, or to set a World Record in a competition that is not an International Competition, a Relevant Athlete must meet each of the following conditions

2.3.1 she must be recognised at law5 either as female or as intersex (or equivalent);

2.3.2 she must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L6 for a continuous period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and

2.3.3 thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five (5) nmol/L continuously (i.e., whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to maintain eligibility to compete in the female classification in Restricted Events at International Competitions (or to set a World Record in a Restricted Event at a competition that is not an International Competition) — (Source: World Athletics)

There has been an excessive spotlight shone on women from developing countries in cases of high testosterone levels. This can be traced back to the case of Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, who fought against similar regulations in court and won in 2015. The cases of Castor Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, Margaret Wambui of Kenya, Beatrice Masilingi, and Christine Mboma are unfair as these women have XX chromosomes and are biologically female. This conclusion feels troubling, and will undoubtedly not age well. 








Influential Women of 2021

These are opinion pieces authored by Women in Politics Club officers. They do not represent the views of the club nor Churchill as a whole. We hope you bring our new perspectives!

Author: Caroline Chou | Editor: Mia Alexander

2021 marks one hundred and one years since the passage of the 19th Amendment and fifty six years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a law that helped secure suffrage for racial minorities. This past year, a record number of 27% of the seats in Congress, 144 out of 539 total seats, were held by women. Although there is still more progress to be made, women are getting their voices heard more and more often in American politics. While there are, of course, many more influential female politicians across the nation, here are four who have made great strides this past year and who are sure to inspire future generations.

Kamala Harris (D)

On January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris was sworn in as vice president on the steps of the Capitol. Harris is the first Black American, South Asian American, and woman to hold this position. Born in Oakland, California, Harris began her career as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County before becoming a managing attorney in San Francisco at the head of the Career Criminal Division. In 2003, she became the first Black woman to hold the position of San Francisco district attorney, where she established a program that gave first-time drug offenders a chance to get a high school diploma and a job. As California Attorney General in 2010, Harris fought for working families and won a $20 billion settlement against unfair foreclosure of homes. She also fought for the Affordable Care Act, climate justice , and marriage equality. Harris became a Senator in 2017, serving on the Committees of Intelligence and Judiciary and Homeland Security. During her three and a half years in Congress, she focused primarily on issues relating to due process and justice. As the current Vice President, she works to be inclusive in policymaking and give a voice to the unheard. In combating the coronavirus pandemic, she aims to get Black communities the vaccines and resources that they need, as they have been hit especially hard in terms of case numbers and economic hardships.

Lisa Murkowski (R)

After graduating from Georgetown University with a BA in economics, Lisa Murkowski began as an attorney at the Anchorage District Court clerk’s office. In 1998, Murkowski became part of the Alaska House of Representatives, representing District 18. She ran for Senator in 2004, narrowly defeating former governor Tony Knowles. The 2010 US Senate election would end up more difficult, however, with Murkowski eventually conceding in the primary election. Later that year, she launched a massive write-in campaign. Despite not having her name on the ballot, voters could physically write her name on a ballot to cast their vote in favor of her. She ended up winning the election, making her the second candidate for the Senate to win a write-in campaign. Murkowski was re-elected in 2016, and as her current term has come to a close, she has filed for re-election in 2022. She is considered a more moderate Republican — she was one of seven Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump during his second trial. She was also in the minority group of Republicans who voted in favor of a temporary spending bill and the breaking of a filibuster in September and October of 2021. Murkowski advocates for the protection of the environment, particularly of the Arctic and rural Alaska, supports the Equal Rights Act, and has worked to secure more funding for military affairs and clean energy development in Alaska.

Nancy Pelosi (D)

In 2007, Nancy Pelosi made history as the first woman to be elected Speaker of the House, acting as the leader and mediator of discussions in the House of Representatives. She was just re-elected this year, marking the start of her fourth term in this position. Pelosi’s father was a Maryland Congressman, which fostered in her an interest in politics from an early age. After graduating college, she moved to San Francisco and was elected a member of the Democratic National Committee, moving up the ranks until she became the head of the California Democratic Party in 1981. In 1983, Pelosi won a special election to become a member of the House of Representatives for the 98th US Congress, representing the 12th Congressional District of California for 33 years. During her time in Congress, Pelosi was part of the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees, while also advocating for increased funding for healthcare research, environmental protection, and human rights. In 2001, Pelosi became the first woman to serve as House Minority Whip, maintaining communications between party members and its leaders and convincing Members of the House to vote for a party’s position. Pelosi became the first woman to serve as the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives the next year. As Speaker of the House, Pelosi has supported the Affordable Care Act and fought for better access to higher-level education, as well as new policies to combat climate change. Pelosi was instrumental in the House’s passage of the Build Back Better Act in November of 2021, which will work to protect the environment and further invest in social security, specifically on health and child care. 

Yvette Herrell (R)

Yvette Herrell started her political career by representing District 51 in the New Mexico House of Representatives for four terms, from 2011 to 2019. In January 2021, she was elected to the US House of Representatives for New Mexico’s 2nd District, the largest congressional district in the state. Her election has made her the first Republican Native American woman in Congress and the first from the Cherokee Nation. She has focused on advocating for securing the southern border between Mexico and New Mexico and seeks to protect New Mexican jobs in the fossil fuel industry as new energy policies on combating the climate crisis are implemented. She is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and the pro-life movement.








WiP X WiB: Amie Hoeber Event Recap!

These are opinion pieces authored by Women in Politics Club officers. They do not represent the views of the club nor Churchill as a whole. We hope you bring our new perspectives!

Author: Noura Habona | Editor: Elizabeth Qiu and Mia Alexander

On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, Amie Hoeber guest spoke to 100+ students in a joint event hosted by the Women in Politics (WiP) and Women in Business (WiB) clubs at Winston Churchill High School. Here is a summary of what was covered!

About Amie

Ms. Hoeber was the Republican nominee for Congress in Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District in 2016 and 2018. She was also recently appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to be a Member of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. She is President of AMH Consulting, a Potomac, Maryland company. Since 1991 she has provided consulting on a wide range of defense matters.

Prior to founding her consulting company, Ms. Hoeber held several senior management positions at TRW’s Federal Systems Group in Fairfax, VA. Before joining the industry in 1986, Ms. Hoeber served as Deputy Under Secretary of the Army in President Reagan’s Administration. Earlier she was on the staff of several defense think tanks, including the Rand Corporation, and was a leader in several professional groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the NBC Industry Group. She has authored and co-authored numerous books and articles on military strategy and other national security issues.

Ms. Hoeber was a member of the Board of Directors of Versar, Inc., and was Chairman of the Board of EAI Corporation and of Hinz Consulting. She was also on the Board of the House of Ruth Maryland for more than a decade and was a co-founder of CLONE, an organization that focuses on mentoring young women in the defense business, both uniformed and civilian.

Ms. Hoeber is also an artist specializing in glassblowing and acrylic abstract painting. Her glass has been in a juried show; she also donates some of her art pieces to charity and political auctions.

What happened at the meeting?

Amie Hoeber (who is a girlboss) visited Churchill High School for our Guest Speaker event and I think we can all agree that she did not disappoint. Hoeber started off her presentation with a simple piece of advice: “life is mostly an accident.” She went to Stanford originally planning to be a doctor but then switched paths to studying political science. When she didn’t know how she was going to pay her rent the next week, the Stanford Research institute gave her a military ballistics job. As if by accident, everything fell into place for her. 

Amie has seen firsthand the lack of representation women face in male-dominated industries. Her first professional meeting was just with her and 3,000 other men. It was pretty intimidating, but she took it as an opportunity to stand out. As the only woman in the room, she was definitely memorable.  

As a chemical warfare and defense expert, she was featured on a 60 Minutes episode! To her surprise, president-elect Ronald Reagan watched the episode and wanted to hire her. It was just an accident that happened to fly by. Within the Reagan administration, she served as deputy undersecretary of the army, where she mostly did military research and development. 

After the Reagan Administration, she worked for a smaller company. As time went by and her children started their own lives, she decided to start her own business consulting company, and she has been doing that for almost 30 years now. Her company does work for all of the various defense contractors locally, focusing on nuclear and border security in the military. A one-year fellowship at Harvard University came around for people who were at the end of their careers. She joined this fellowship because she didn’t want to be the type of person to just “die at her desk, [I] wanted to do something impactful.” 

Things started to get political as she decided to run for Congress against former Representative John Delaney (D). She talked to some of her friends from the Reagan Administration and tossed her hat in the ring. Hoeber started off strong as she won the Republican primaries against her six opponents. However, she ultimately lost to Delaney in the general election. She credits her defeat to “the power of incumbency.” To finish off her amazing political career she ran again in another intense election against David Trone (D). She attributes her defeat in this election to Trone’s outrageous campaign budget. As for her current political life, she was appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to serve on the Elections Board of Montgomery County. 

Throughout her presentation, I felt empowered by her hard work and accomplishments.

After an amazing presentation, things started to get heated during the Q&A. When questioned on her political party affiliation, Hoeber clarified that she identifies as more of a moderate “Larry Hogan” type of Republican. She believes that “the world works better when the government is less involved in people’s lives.” (In fact, when asked about the decriminalization of marijuana, she stated that it’s not any worse than alcohol and she has no objection to its recreational use). When asked about her views on abortion, she stated that the government should have no interference in a women’s personal life. She then was asked what she thought about Trump’s handling of the January 6th Capitol Riot and she responded that she was extremely appalled by the lack of civil behavior. Despite supporting him in the 2016 election, she is no longer a supporter of Trump and thinks that his administration caused extreme divisiveness. 

When asked about advice that she had for students in terms of politics she said find a candidate you like and work for them. She admits that she didn’t have any real understanding of what was involved in a campaign until she signed up for one. In terms of business, she said it’s like jumping off a cliff but she definitely thinks it’s worth taking the risk because “life is not a dress rehearsal, you have to do what you want or else you are not fulfilling your potential.” With the many aspects of the presentation that made Amie Hoeber such an impactful speaker, she wanted to leave the audience with one thing: the importance of education. She herself earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stanford University and went on to graduate school studying Mathematics and Operations Research at Stanford, American University, and UCLA. She pursued this extensive list of higher education because she grew up with a keen sense of the importance of education. Hoeber said that people should get as much education as they can because you never know what you need to think about. In the words of Amie, “It doesn’t matter if you go to MC or Harvard — there is always a chance to get a proper education.” This article definitely does not encompass the amazing woman that Amie Hoeber is, and the officers and members of the Women In Politics and Women in Business clubs thank her immensely for her visit.

Thank you, Amie, for taking the time out of your day to come to speak to us! We are so grateful 🙂