Emory Report

April 10, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 28

Fowler encourages Emory women


One of the nation's highest-elected Republican females visited campus last week not to campaign for office, but to urge Emory women to take advantage of all their "endless opportunities" in life.

Congresswoman and Emory alumna Tillie Kidd Fowler (R-Fla.) was the keynote speaker for the President's Commission on the Status of Women's spring event, held Monday, April 3 in Tull Auditorium. Fowler, '64C, '67L, came to campus not only as a politician but as a distiguished alumna.

Fowler concentrated her remarks on letting the mainly female crowd know that politics is no longer a man's world--and it's more than shaking hands and kissing babies.

"Sometimes the word 'politician' takes on a not-good connotation," she said, adding she considers herself more a public servant than a politician. "[The United States] truly is a government for the people by the people. You think that's a cliché, but it's true."

And, she said, the makeup of that government is changing to reflect the people it governs--much like society on a whole. But the change is slow, Fowler said. Women were not allowed to serve in Congress until 1917 and the first woman served for only a day in 1922. In the 1992, when Fowler entered Congress, only 6 percent of members were women; that number has jumped to 12 percent today, she said.

As more women join the political arena, more are finding themselves in high-ranking positions--and Fowler is a prime example. In 1996, she was awarded an Emory Medal for her varying accomplishments, including her title as the vice-chair of Congress' Republican Conference. The Milledgeville native is the deputy majority whip and the senior Republican woman on the Armed Services Committe, in addition to serving on transportation and infrastructure committees.

While men still dominate Congress, women are less dau-nted by the numbers and more determined to run. In this year's election, 139 women will either run or consider running for Congress in 43 states, she continued. Fowler, however, won't be one of those women. She announced in January that she would not seek re-election because she said she had accomplished the goals laid out in her original 1992 campaign.

Prior to Fowler's speech, President Bill Chace awarded the PCSW writing awards. Winners include senior Danielle Sered for her essay, "The Eve of Desire: Female Subjectivity and Homoerotics in Milton's Paradise Lost"; sociology graduate student Caitlin Killian, for "The Other Side of the Veil: North African Women in France Respond to the Head-scarf Affair"; and law student Emily Miller, for "Revisiting Voluntary Manslaughter: Gender Issues and the Model Penal Code."

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