Breakthrough — To My Girls

By Nancy L. Cohen, January 20, 2016

A couple weeks after the 2012 election, I thought, “What’s next?” We had just come off an election where women made the difference. Women’s health and women’s rights had been pivotal in the election. And if you crunch the numbers, it is indisputable that women won the election for Obama. It was so obvious at that moment that this was going to be the critical question leading up to 2016. Would America elect a woman president? Were we ready? Would Hillary run? If she didn’t, could any woman fill her shoes?

In the spring of 2013, I set out to answer these questions and I began talking to women leaders and experts on women’s political leadership. In the years since then, I have interviewed senators and governors and ambassadors; Democrats and Republicans; men and women; political operatives and political scientists; girls and women from the age of nine to ninety-two; fathers of tweens, a mother of triplets, and a surprising number of parents with twins; men who are passionate about electing women and women who could not care less; single men, gay married couples, and women who are childless by choice; children of migrant farmworkers, recently naturalized immigrants, and the great-granddaughter of a president. Unequivocally, these conversations were the most fun part of the process of writing a book. I’m deeply grateful for the generosity of everyone who shared their time and their story with me.

Three years, 100 interviews, and lots of time alone at the computer later, I am excited to announce that my new book Breakthrough: The Making of America’s First Woman President is here. Well, here. Because one of the few remaining perks of being a writer is you get copies of your book before anyone else does. Another couple weeks until it hits the stores – but you can preorder your copy here if you can’t wait!

What I learned surprised me, but I’ll leave that for another day. Today I want to say that Breakthrough is dedicated to my daughters, Camille and Helena Candaele, and my stepdaughters, Morgan and Paloma Parfrey. I’ve been writing about women, gender and politics for five years now, but this project felt the most personal. If we’re going to leave our girls a future in which they can flourish, if we care about creating a more equal and fair society for men and women both, we are going to have fight like hell in 2016. So, raise a glass to my girls and your girls, and now let’s get to work.

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Nancy L. Cohen