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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ambassador Madeleine Kunin Visits Campus


Madeleine Kunin is the former United States Ambassador to Sweden and Lichtenstein and the first female governor of Vermont. She was also the first Jewish governor and the fourth female governor to be elected in the United States.

Madeleine Kunin, former governor of the state of Vermont, spoke in UMass Boston’s Campus Center Ballroom on Tuesday, April 2. She presented her most recent book, The New Feminist Agenda, in which she pleads for gender equality.

This event was hosted by The Center for Women In Politics and Public Policy. It was part of the center’s Leading Women Series on Women’s Public Leadership.

Kunin talked about her successful political career and the need for another feminist revolution. She explained that economic growth is impossible in a society where women are not integrated.

“Women and girls must be treated equally if a country is to grow and prosper,” she stated. She believes that empowering women to succeed at home and at work is necessary to support the demanding lives of working families in America today. “Women’s integration is a must,” she emphasized.

She spoke about the need for everyone to start joining the feminist movement. As she put it, “Women cannot…get the job done [alone].” She believes that feminist activists have to broaden the feminist conversation to include men, unions, the elderly, the disabled, religious groups, and the unaffiliated. “Democracy should have a representation in each group,” she said.

Kunin was born in pre-war Zurich to a Jewish family, and moved to the United States as a child. In 1978 she became the first Jewish governor anywhere in the US. To date, she has been the only female governor of Vermont. She is also the fourth woman governor in the history of the United States.

In an interview with The Mass Media, she advised UMass Boston students who are going into politics, especially female students, to be optimistic. “Only optimism gives us courage to take risks,” she said. She added that without optimism, everything will always seem impossible.

Governor Kunin, a UMass Amherst alumna, expressed her joy at coming to a University of Massachusetts campus, “I came here not only because I was invited, but also, I have a soft heart for the University of Massachusetts,” she said.