Madeleine Albright Explains Controversial Comment

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made a comment about women during the New Hampshire primary that was not appreciated. To show her support for Hillary Clinton after she lost to Bernie Sanders, Albright said, "We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it's done. It's not done. There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other!" 

Gloria Steinem, a leader of the feminist movement also got in hot water when interviewed by Bill Maher. The New York Times reports

"When you're young, you're thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,' " Ms. Steinem said.

Realizing that this was potentially offensive, Mr. Maher recoiled. "Oh. Now if I said that, ‘They're for Bernie because that's where the boys are,' you'd swat me."

But Ms. Steinem laughed it off, replying, "How well do you know me?"

Albright wrote an op-ed for The New York Times to apologize and further explain her comment: "I HAVE spent much of my career as a diplomat. It is an occupation in which words and context matter a great deal. So one might assume I know better than to tell a large number of women to go to hell." She went on to explain the excitement of the moment, some history, and her view of having a female president: 

"The battle for gender equality is still being waged, and it will be easier if we have a woman who prioritizes these issues in the Oval Office and if the gender balance among elected officials reflects that of our country. When women are empowered to make decisions, society benefits. They will raise issues, pass bills and put money into projects that men might overlook or oppose."

Discussion Starters: 

  • What's your reaction to both comments? Do you find them offensive? 
  • Read Albright's op-ed. How well does she explain herself and apologize? She doesn't say "I'm sorry" or "I apologize."