aftermath of Hillary's loss

For those on the left in shock or sorrow over Donald Trump's win, here is a quote worth remembering: "Ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement."

The statement comes from Trump himself; it was part of his election night victory speech. But progressives have as much right to claim it as their own.

  Former Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton (Photo: Reuters)

Former Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton (Photo: Reuters)

No, Hillary Clinton did not become America's first female president. But her candidacy was important - and contrary to the too-common narrative, many were inspired. This was a very close race. Clinton earned 59.7 million votes, and Trump won 59.5 million.

Millennial voters would have elected Clinton by an Electoral College vote of 504 to 23 had they been the only ones filling out ballots.

Granted, what we witnessed in this historic presidential race was often ugly, vulgar and obscene. Nevertheless, people were galvanized. Clinton's candidacy inspired a flash mob of 170 men and women in pantsuits in Union Square. Hundreds flocked to the Rochester grave site of suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony and placed "I voted" stickers on her tombstone. Parents took their daughters to polling places, on the campaign trail and to election eve parties.

Those opposed to Trump should not let that spirit get away but must bring it to bear in their continuing pursuit of women's rights.

In places yesterday, progressives were drawing lines in the sand. Physicians for Reproductive Health vowed to "remain vigilant," noting Trump's opposition to abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and when the mother's health is endangered.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, emailed supporters to say she was "Devastated. Angry. Heartbroken." But she added that the four most important words were these: "These. Doors. Stay. Open."

She was responding to Trump's pledge to defund Planned Parenthood despite its work providing women with birth control and services like breast and cervical cancer screenings. On Twitter, supporters urged others to sign up for a monthly donation plan.

Elsewhere, women celebrated electoral victories. Emily's List, which raises money for pro-abortion-rights women candidates, said a record number of women of color will be serving in Congress as a result of Tuesday's vote. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada was elected as the nation's first Latina senator. Kamala Harris of California, Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois will all join the U.S. Senate in January.

These women, noted Jess O'Connell, executive director of Emily's List, arrive with diverse perspectives and strong voices "at a time when we've never needed them more," adding, "Their leadership will provide the checks and balances that are such a critically important part of our government, as we continue our work to achieve full equality for women."

Trump's attitude toward sexual assault will bear watching. We're all familiar with his boasts and women's accusations against him. But keep in mind that, as a nation, we are still struggling with how those in authority handle reports of sexual assault on college campuses and in the military. After a Pentagon survey found that roughly 26,000 men and women had been assaulted, Trump tweeted, "What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?"

Finally, progressives should hold Trump to a promise he made as a candidate to guarantee six weeks of paid leave for mothers who have just given birth.

Here's another quote worth remembering, and it comes from the gracious concession speech Clinton made yesterday morning: "This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it."

First published in Newsday. Anne Michaud is the Interactive Opinion Editor for Newsday.

Hillary still has wooing to do with left-leaning women

Hillary supporter
Hillary supporter

On a recent evening over watermelon martinis, a group of Long Island women went around the table voicing their nonsupport of Hillary Clinton. They're a left-leaning group, ranging in age from mid-40s to early 60s -- supposedly part of Clinton's natural constituency.

"She's rich," one said. "I always distrust rich people, how they made their money."

Another cited Clinton's campaign contributions from Monsanto, the big developer of genetically modified foods. A third woman derided the Clinton White House-era limits on welfare and passage of the 1994 crime bill, which helped to fill our prisons. A fourth said Clinton has no charisma.

Tonight, as Clinton takes the stage to accept the Democratic nomination for president - the first woman in a major American party to do so - shouldn't she by right enter the embrace of this generation of women as the zenith of our aspirations? However, if this critical group is any measure, Clinton still has some winning-over to do. These women aren't ready to hand her that pointy glass-shattering hammer just yet.

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 52 percent of registered female voters from both parties support Clinton, but that number fell to about 35 percent among white women ages 35 to 64. Can Clinton build enthusiasm tonight? Possibly. She needs to remind us that she's like us. We've known her in public life for decades.

And yet, she must also show that she's not too much like us. She must be extraordinary enough to claim this historic first.

Her husband laid the groundwork Tuesday night. It's the job of the spouse at a party convention to humanize the candidate and also to remind people of her history. Bill Clinton described first noticing Hillary on campus at Yale Law School in a way that showed she was like other women: thick blond hair, big glasses, no makeup. But he also claimed that even in 1971, she was extraordinary. Magnetic and self-possessed to the point that he hesitated to touch her back to get her attention and introduce himself. Tonight, Clinton must make that case for herself.

She cannot answer my friends' every concern. A disadvantage of a long public life is a host of positions, and detractors can choose among them as a basis for disapproval.

But Clinton can talk about her life and ideals. She was born into a middle-class family in which her dad made custom drapes and her homemaker mother told her she could be a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Many Americans can relate to humble beginnings and high aspirations, but not all of us persevered until we were the Democratic nominee for president.

Clinton can remind Americans that her early instinct was to advocate for migrant laborers, battered children and the legal rights of minors. She later wrote a book about relying on community, and on the campaign trail at the Brooklyn Navy Yard last month continued to speak about "prosperity that lifts everyone who has been left out and left behind."

She could point out that, when thwarted in her 1990s White House health care overhaul, she took to the road as first lady to advocate for women's rights around the world. Then when she was a U.S. senator from New York in the 2000s, many of her staff were women whom she accommodated through their pregnancies and early motherhood.

As history-making as Clinton's acceptance tonight will be, her most potent message to women voters of my generation will be to remind us of the road we've traveled together, the aspirations we've held for ourselves, our country and our children. It's not her zenith, she must recollect, it's ours.

First published in Newsday. Anne Michaud is the Interactive Opinion Editor for Newsday.

Election year politics at play in Plum Island preservation

Plum Island, NY, USA – August 24, 2014
Plum Island, NY, USA – August 24, 2014

Plum Island is like the turn of a kaleidoscope. At one rotation, a viewer sees Long Island's largest seal colony and a favorite destination of fishing boats. At the next turn, it becomes a prize sought by developers of golf courses and condos.

To many, though, Plum Island is a vision of Washington's partisanship cemented into place. The 3-mile, relatively untouched haven of trees and sandy beaches in Long Island Sound is off-limits to the public and has been owned by the federal government since 1826, when it was a military installation called Fort Terry. Since the 1950s, about 20 percent of Plum Island has served as an animal disease center researching everything from swine flu to foot-and-mouth disease to other livestock ailments.

Today, as the federal government moves to relocate the research laboratory to Kansas, this strip of land 1.5 miles off the tip of Orient Point is, to federal budget hawks, a potential $33 million bonanza. As preservationists try to block Plum Island's sale to a private developer, they've run straight into the kaleidoscopic chamber of mirrors known as an election year.

Even though leaders on both sides of the aisle agree that this green jewel should be preserved, the real issue is who would get credit for doing so. This will come as a complete shock to no one.

But it's a shame to have what is mostly agreement behind the scenes -- to preserve this land -- result in paralysis. Plum Island is an extraordinary treasure that should remain pristine.

The island's future is playing out in the context of the 1st Congressional District, which encompasses both Long Island forks westward to Brookhaven and Smithtown. Republican freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin tried to rescind the part of the 2008 federal legislation that initiated the sale of the land. The proceeds are supposed to help fund the $1.25 billion Kansas replacement facility, scheduled for completion by the end of 2022.

However, Zeldin's ban on a sale also expires in 2022. This spring, real estate agents were scheduling boat trips for potential Plum Island buyers, so he submitted a second bill that mirrors a Senate measure sponsored by Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal; Plum Island is less than seven miles south of Niantic, Connecticut. The second measure creates a one-year moratorium on marketing the island to buyers. It passed just last week.

There are two schools of thought about why Zeldin's ban expires in 2022. One is that House Speaker Paul Ryan, a budget hawk, said he didn't want to give up the potential cash. The second is that Senate Democrats said privately they would push Zeldin's House bill in their chamber. In the absence of a Republican sponsor, there's evidence they're still considering that.

Not to take sides here, but Democrats see 2016 as an opportunity to wrest the 1st CD seat from Zeldin. History shows the power of incumbency grows after a first term. And New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, especially, has been a vocal supporter of Zeldin's November opponent, Democrat and former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. If Blumenthal's bill were to pass in the Senate, Zeldin might look too good.

Environmental advocates from New York and Connecticut will be in Washington today to lobby in part about Plum Island. Let's hope they can twist the kaleidoscope to a pattern that produces a win for all of us who live near Long Island Sound.

First published in Newsday. Anne Michaud is the Interactive Opinion Editor for Newsday.

Don't let kids lose their smarts in summer

Two young children are reading books together outside in a teepee tent for a education or learning concept.
Two young children are reading books together outside in a teepee tent for a education or learning concept.

It's that time of year again. School's out, and summer stretches before us. My parents would have said, go out and play. But we're living in an age when parents are more hands-on, for many reasons: anxiety about getting into college and earning a break on the sky-high cost; unpredictable economic storms, insecure jobs, stagnant wages that create a slippery slide down and out of the comfortable middle class.

As a result, families are more concerned that these weeks of summer include some learning. For people with time and money, summer promises specialty camps, out-of-town vacations, lessons and trips to museums and concerts.

But summer learning loss - the idea that students lose ground academically when they don't engage in educational activities during the break - is particularly acute for children in families with lesser means.

Sociologists at Johns Hopkins University demonstrated this by tracking 800 Baltimore students over two decades. They found that better-off kids retained more over summer break because they were involved in stimulating activities, even if they had very little to do with a textbook and a No. 2 pencil. In fact, by ninth grade, summer learning loss was responsible for two-thirds of the achievement gap between low-income students and their better-off peers.

In recognition of this finding, places from St. Louis to Teton County, Wyoming, have started affordable, educational summer programs for low-income families.

But even without communitywide cooperation, families with tight budgets and short together time can create stimulating summers. I asked parenting expert Denise Daniels for her ideas and checked out the suggestions on Educents.com, a website that curates fun learning projects and products.

1. Write a summer bucket list. Parents and kids should sit down at the start of the summer to list a few activities they want to make sure to include before the sunny days end.

2. Look to community organizations for free or low-cost resources. Libraries often organize summer reading contests. Some towns host free outdoor music concerts and other entertainment. YMCAs and JCCs run inexpensive day camps, and many camps will offer scholarships to families that can't afford the regular price.

3. Create your own "camp." Children can choose their five favorite recipes and make them on successive days for a week of cooking camp. Or they can re-enact a scene from a favorite book, making costumes and putting on a performance. Science camp, community service camp - the possibilities are as rich as one's imagination. Or, collect several families to host camp weeks on a rotating basis.

4. Scouts' motto: Be prepared. Have a travel kit to keep kids entertained when you're in transit, or if children need to spend a few hours at a parent's workplace. Keep art supplies in the home. Write out a list for a scavenger hunt. Have workbooks for the appropriate grade level tucked away for odd moments.

5. Mix in academics in fun ways. Get kids to read aloud to their pets. Have them cook or shop with an adult to practice math. Websites offer computer programming tutorials, and kids can subscribe to receive science kits regularly by mail.

6. Just be. In the final analysis, the most important contribution a parent can make to a good summer is 20 minutes of one-on-one time daily. Bedtime reading, especially stories that teach kids about emotions, can be ideal for fostering this connection.

Do you have something to add? Let me know. It doesn't have to feel like a classroom to count as a lesson.

First published on Newsday.com. Anne Michaud is the Interactive Opinion Editor for Newsday.

Who did this killer hate, and why?

Orlando shooting 1
Orlando shooting 1

This is a sad truth of our time: As a society, we have developed a series of rituals after mass shootings. One is playing out now. It's called name the enemy.

Since the tragic massacre in Orlando this weekend, at Latin night in the LGBT club Pulse, some of our leaders have been stepping up to podiums and taking to Twitter to say why this carnage occurred. Who did Omar Mateen hate, and why? Naming the enemy is a necessary process. It allows us to post extra police details at certain New York clubs and neighborhoods, as the New York City Police Department has done. But we must approach this naming with care and be on the lookout for how our leaders use the ritual, because reality is usually more complex than the initial picture.

Brad Hoylman, the only openly gay member of the State Senate, stressed the importance of naming the enemy. For him, it's homophobia. The Senate passed a resolution Tuesday expressing "sincerest, heartfelt condolences to the Orlando community" and gratitude for first responders. The resolution was a simple single sentence.

Yet Hoylman, a Democrat, wouldn't sign it because neither the LGBT community nor Latinos were mentioned. Hoylman called this "a colossal oversight or intentional omission." He noted, "At its core, pride is an affirmation we have the right to exist and live and love openly. It's times like Sunday morning that this fundamental concept is put to the test."

It was a poignant speech, and naming the enemy this way opened the door for the senator to make it. His sentiments won't hurt any in his district, which encompasses Stonewall and the West Village in Manhattan - the seat held for years by gay advocate Tom Duane. Hoylman also took the opportunity to call for an end to injustices, such as state statutes about hate crimes and discrimination that don't specifically protect transgender people.

This advances his own agenda - but was the Orlando assault only about Latin night at an LGBT club? I think not. Leaders risk oversimplifying when they cherry-pick the background of an assailant like Mateen.

Shortly after the shootings, on Monday night, the presidential candidates named their enemies with care, before very much was known about Mateen. Hillary Clinton acknowledged this - but then launched into her definition. She said the shooter was "apparently consumed by rage against LGBT Americans, and by extension, the openness and diversity that defines our American way of life."

Naming the enemy as a hater of diversity allowed Clinton to call for unity and to embrace moderate Muslims as allies against terrorism.

Calling Mateen a lone wolf, a "radicalized" individual, Clinton avoided the need to take direct retaliation against the Islamic State or any one group.

Sen. Bernie Sanders took Clinton's lone-wolf theme further - he has a way of sharpening the point on the Democratic conversation - when he tweeted Tuesday, "We know that one hateful person committed this terrible crime - not an entire people or an entire nation."

Donald Trump, of course, is the prince of enemy-naming. In fact, that's the basis of much of his appeal, what he calls doing away with political correctness. Even as the dust from the Orlando disaster was settling, Trump dared President Barack Obama to say the words radical Islam. Trump's definition of the impulse behind the shootings leads to a fair number of policies that begin with closing our borders and end . . . where?

That's the crucial question we must bear in mind when deciding on the enemy's name.

First published in Newsday. Anne Michaud is the Interactive Opinion Editor for Newsday.

More generations living under one roof -- and liking it

grandfather and grandson having fun on their homestead
grandfather and grandson having fun on their homestead

If you need any further evidence that the American family is in the throes of change, and no longer a Norman Rockwell portrait of the nuclear nest, check out this finding from the respected Pew Research Center: For the first time in 130 years, more people age 18 to 34 are living with their parents than with a partner in their own households. Slightly more than 32 percent of millennials lived in their parents' home in 2014, according to the analysis published last week and based on U.S. census data. There's also been a dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who choose to settle down romantically before age 35, writes Pew's Richard Fry. Marriage is declining in general, and people are marrying later.

The living-at-home numbers haven't been so high since the 1940s Depression-era peak of about 35 percent, Pew said, which suggests that the reasons are economic. Then, they had the Great Depression. Now, we had the Great Recession. Many young people still can't find jobs, middle-class wages have declined for decades, and housing prices remain out of reach on most single salaries.

But that's not all that's going on. This cohabitation is partly a barometer of the economy, but also partly about women's rising earning power. Women with good jobs aren't quite so ready to accept a mate's bad behavior, fewer are getting pregnant and a pregnancy doesn't lead so quickly to a walk down the aisle as it once did. A good number of single mothers live in their parents' homes.

Americans have been redefining family for decades - through divorce and remarriage, with same-sex couples, with monogamous couples who never marry - and this mix of multiple generations in the house is only the latest twist. Call me over-optimistic, but generations under one roof can benefit everyone involved.

One writer, Alan Jacobs, recently described his experience in multigenerational home this way: "Through living as an extended family my parents got free child care, my grandparents got free rent, and I grew up surrounded by family members who loved me. How did living this way become an image of a 'life gone wrong'?"

Old and young people can also learn from one another. Younger people can witness the metamorphosis of retirement, and the health changes that come with age - and find models on how to plan for these transitions themselves. More hands in the kitchen can mean families eat healthier, and generations can pass along hobbies, interests and skills. This goes both ways - older people can learn from young household members how to use social media to connect with distant family and friends.

An organization called Generations United, which advocates for policy changes to support grandparents who are raising children, says the growth in multigenerational homes is a sign that there's greater harmony between millennials and their parents. Donna M. Butts, the executive director of the Washington-based group, wrote in response to the Pew finding that studies show "millennials and their parents like each other . . . unlike some previous generations who couldn't wait to get away from their parents."

That's a big generalization. Surely, many millennials would like to be out on their own. As I thought about this column, I asked my 17-year-old if her vision for her future is a super-souped-up room of her own in her parents' house. She scoffed before I could get to the second half of the question about an apartment of her own.

I take pride in her growing independence, to be sure. But if life leads her back home for a stay, as the Pew numbers tell us, we'll be in good company.

First published in Newsday. Anne Michaud is the Interactive Opinion Editor for Newsday.

Could this course from the mental health community apply to addiction?

overdose pillsJoyce Burland recalls, during one of her first meetings for families of mentally ill people, seeing a silver-haired couple who looked serene. They had twin sons, both with schizophrenia, and had been grappling with that reality for about 60 years. The couple hadn't abandoned their sons, and they were very much involved in their lives. Burland, whose 30-something sister with five children had recently become delusional - "it was a mess," Burland said - wondered how she could achieve anything approaching serenity. She remembers the sight of that couple as "a guiding moment."

A clinical psychologist, Burland would go on to write a 12-week course for families of people with mental illness, which is used across the United States, and in Mexico and Italy. Her course, called Family-To-Family or F2F, is intended to move people from panic and struggle to living in relative peace with a long-term, debilitating illness.

"Our job is to move the illness to a factor in families' lives, not the only fact, so they can live with joy and spontaneity while undertaking a really long job," said Burland, who is now the national director of the Education, Training and Peer Education Support Center for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The organization advocates for individuals and families affected by mental illness.

The success of Burland's program, which has served about 375,000 people since its start in 1991, made me wonder whether it could help people living with another arduous, life-long problem: addiction. Last year, 442 people died of opiate overdoses on Long Island - a record, up from 403 a year earlier. This is a battle we are losing to heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl.

People in the anti-drug community on Long Island say they have support groups, but nothing as extensive as F2F. Burland agreed that her program could be useful for families coping with addiction - not as a replacement for something else, but as one more tool.

The first few weeks of the course help people through the initial shock. The course outlines information about the medical basis for mental illness, therapeutic drugs, and what is a symptom and which behaviors are changeable. Burland updates the curriculum to reflect new research.

The middle third of F2F describes what it's like for a person living with mental illness and, more recently, Alzheimer's.

The final sessions help families cope with mixed emotions - anger, guilt, resentment - and return to caring for themselves instead of living life under siege. They set rules about giving money or shelter, for example, until the ill person agrees to take medication.

Jeannette Wells of Springfield Gardens is a volunteer who leads classes twice a year. She attended two days of training in Albany to become certified with NAMI to teach F2F. She said the classes create a natural community who can rely on each other later.

F2F was revolutionary in its day. Psychiatry for roughly a century had blamed mental illness on dysfunctional or abusive parents, Burland said. Some of that stigma persists, making it hard to admit to a problem. In that, there are parallels with drug and alcohol abuse.

While Family-To-Family has served only a fraction of the millions who might benefit, it has created a core of advocates in every state who can speak knowledgeably to doctors and social workers, and who have won milestone legislation requiring parity in health insurance coverage.

Whether parity is always enforced . . . that's the next challenge.

First published in Newsday.

Obama turns to African-American issues in his home stretch

56093313Just as Attorney General Loretta Lynch rounded her first anniversary as the nation's top law-enforcement officer, she was on a national tour to promote her plan to help integrate people with criminal records back into society. As her weeklong tour stopped at the Talladega Federal Correctional Institution in Alabama a week ago, she joked to a group of inmates in a substance abuse treatment program that one of the benefits of being attorney general is "you get to pick a week - and name it something."

And that she did. Last week was the country's inaugural Lynch-titled "National Reentry Week." The Department of Justice issued policies intended to lower barriers to finding jobs, housing, education and treatment for people who've served time, been on probation, or who have an arrest in their past.

The AG's initiative doesn't address race, which was the right judgment. But to the extent that people of color are disproportionately enmeshed in the criminal justice system, Lynch's action is an important call for broader civil rights. She picked up the Obama administration's baton to make it easier for people with records to overcome stigma and bias.

During this presidential campaign, our nation is wrestling with the impact of the 1994 crime bill, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, which resulted in mass incarceration, particularly of black Americans. The prison population rose 628 percent between 1970 and 2005, and black men account for more than 37 percent of the total population. President Barack Obama is using his final months in office - a time of relative freedom for a sitting president - to cement his legacy and to address issues of particular interest to African Americans.

"Yes, more people of color will be affected, because more are pulled into an unfair justice system," said Monique Dixon, deputy policy director and senior counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, a leading civil rights law organization.

The DOJ is focusing on rehabilitation and ending recidivism by giving former offenders a greater stake in a better life. The action is one response to a new generation of activists loosely organized under the umbrella of Black Lives Matter.

Bennett Capers, a Brooklyn Law School professor, agreed that Obama is focusing more on issues of concern to AfricanAmericans.

"To fight the perception that he is a black president . . . Obama has had to work extra hard to appear neutral and race-free, i.e., the president for everyone," Capers said in an email. "I think with his last year in office, a lot of that pressure has dissipated."

One DOJ initiative listed in Lynch's "Roadmap to Reentry" is expanding video visitations to its women's prisons next month, and eventually to all of its facilities. The AG directed the Bureau of Prisons to figure out the details of how this will work in practice.

The program could allow some of the 2.7 million U.S. children with a parent behind bars to "visit" via video conference, strengthening family relationships. Lynch also has urged the nation's governors to make it easier for felons to obtain state-issued identification after they get out of prison. Dixon said this would pave the way to opening bank accounts, obtaining housing and jobs, voting and applying for public benefits.

Lynch also has urged the federal government to set a model by waiting until after a job candidate has received a provisional offer of employment to ask about his or her criminal record - also known as "ban the box" for the box applicants must check on job forms regarding their criminal history.

Nearly everyone deserves a second chance, especially after having served their time. As a society, we shouldn't make life so hard for people that their only option is to return to crime.

First published in Newsday.

Gay Talese had no female role models? How about these women journalists....

Journalist. News confrence. When I was in my 20s, a friend challenged me about the books I was reading. He said, they're all by women authors. Do women (like me) only like to read works written by women?

I thought of this when I heard about the conference on narrative journalism at Boston University last weekend and the ruckus caused by keynote speaker Gay Talese, a pioneer in importing storytelling techniques from fiction to enliven magazine and newspaper writing. Asked whether there are female writers he admires, Talese told the room of about 600 men and women, no, there were none.

He has since said he misunderstood the question, and he thought the questioner was asking whether there were women journalists who had inspired him in his youth. Talese is 84, and it's true that female journalists in the 1950s were more rare.

Still, his response, while perhaps candid, lacked grace. The greenest of public speaking consultants could have told him to pivot and answer the question as if it were phrased, is there anyone you admire today?

Talese might have mentioned journalist and screenwriter Nora Ephron, author of "When Harry Met Sally." In a documentary about her life, "Everything Is Copy," by her son Jacob Bernstein, Talese lavished praise on Ephron, specifically for the phase of her career as a magazine journalist.

Perhaps Talese isn't as nimble onstage as when he has time to reflect. But I can still manage a pivot. Here is my own list of great women journalists who have influenced me.

Ellen Goodman and Erma Bombeck. Clearly, two very different writers, they are joined in my memory as writers my mother and I loved when I was growing up and read The Boston Globe at home. Goodman wrote columns about social change and progressive politics, once boldly comparing deniers of man-made global warming to deniers of the Holocaust. Bombeck was folksy, chronicling suburban family life with comic irreverence. Their heirs today are apparent in female columnists and mommy and daddy bloggers.

Betty Friedan. Her book "The Feminine Mystique" was published when I was 3. I grew up secure in its message that women should not allow society to tell them who they should be.

Gloria Steinem. Not for the usual reasons. Her 1992 book about believing in oneself, "Revolution From Within," inspired me to value myself outside of a relationship when I was a single newspaper reporter in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s.

Linda Hossie, Maggie O'Kane, Mary McGrory and Mary Williams Walsh. These reporters wrote about systematic and organized rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing during the Bosnian War. This was a time, in the early- to mid-1990s, when atrocities against women usually went unmentioned in war coverage.

Adrienne Rich. Although she had been writing since the 1950s, I discovered her books when I was a young mother in the late 1990s. Rich presented bracing truths about motherhood that I was reading nowhere else.

And, finally . . . the many amazing women journalists I've worked with through a half-dozen newspaper jobs. The ones whose adrenaline pumped when they pursued a story. The ones who patiently and persistently dug through data and documents, cajoled and protected sources, and who made that extra phone call to be sure they were fair to all sides. The ones whose writing was as vivid as a painting.

Yes, my male colleagues have been equally as skilled and dedicated. I'd be pulling a Talese if I didn't say so. Yet, even though one man on a stage may not always remember these women journalists -- or if history gives them the slight -- they have surely shaped their times.

First published in Newsday.