Pelosi says more women leaders in all areas essential for better governance


THE INCREASED participation of women in leadership in all areas of society is essential to the quest for better governance, Nancy Pelosi, minority leader of the US House of Representatives, has told a Dublin audience.

Ms Pelosi, the highest ranking female politician in US history, said there were many questions to be answered about the economy, government and national security.

“The answer to all these questions is to expand the leadership of women in both the public and private sectors. All of our countries must honour that commitment.”

Addressing the University Philosophical Society in Trinity College, Ms Pelosi described healthcare reform as the most significant milestone of her political career.

As speaker of the House of Representatives between 2007 and 2011, she steered through the passing of President Barack Obama’s healthcare legislation, which increased coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Healthcare was a right for all, not a privilege for the few, she said. As a result of the enactment of healthcare reform, for the first time in US history millions of women now have access to free preventive care and no child is denied access to care.

Most countries took this for granted, she admitted, but pointed out that healthcare was one area which had eluded bipartisan agreement between Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Delivering an address entitled E Pluribus Unum(out of many, one), Ms Pelosi focused on the democratic ideals shared by the US and Ireland.

Legislatures were primarily marketplaces of ideas, which blended pragmatism, loyalty and idealism, she said.

“The law must serve the practical development of society, and it must answer real needs. It involves loyalty to constituents, and the defining of charters such as our constitution and conscience.”

At the heart of the American dream was the belief of states with different origins and preferences that they could form one nation offering liberty and justice for all, Ms Pelosi told the inaugural meeting of the 327th session of the society.

She recalled how one area of bipartisan agreement, on nuclear non-proliferation, was carried to Ireland in the speech of two visiting presidents, John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Almost 50 years after President Kennedy praised Ireland for sponsoring a UN resolution opposing the spread of nuclear weapons, world leaders were still striving to make the world a safer place.

After her address, Ms Pelosi was awarded the Golden Medal of Honorary Patronage from the society by its president Eoin O Liathain.