Following the Footsteps of Women Who Made History

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak at the screening of excerpts from an extraordinary new documentary, “Makers: Women Who Make America.” College and high school students from all over the Washington, DC area came together to watch the documentary, and hear a panel discussion with two incredible women – former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, and former President of Brown University, Ruth Simmons – both of whom were also featured in Makers.

Linda Douglass, Senior Vice President for Global Communications for Atlantic Media Company, moderated the panel. Linda is a former broadcast journalist who has covered six presidential campaigns.

The documentary featured interviews and oral histories of extraordinary women who’ve made history – figures such as Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and everyday women who have been affected in their lives by the evolution of women’s rights, our culture, and our political climate.

Dyllan McGee, producer of “Makers,” also joined us. She is an Emmy-award winning documentary producer and her projects have touched upon every corner of American life. For example, her production company has covered American political figures, 9/11, and the psychology of relationships.

During the discussion, our panelists talked about the trials and discrimination they faced early on in their career. They emphasized the power of voices coming together to make change. And they told the audience to “go for it,” in terms of pursuing their dreams and careers.

The screening was one in a series of events celebrating Women’s History Month. Last week, we convened a mentoring panel event for young women and men, as well as a celebration with President Obama and the First Lady in the East Room.

Yesterday’s screening of “Makers: Women Who Make America” was not just about a movie but about a model for our young people —every single one of the women in the film pursued their passion and changed our country. And it is our hope that young people will see themselves in these amazing women and imagine what is possible for their own futures. 

Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President
Related Topics: Women
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