Conferences & Symposia

A Conversation with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

The 50th Anniversary of the Presidential Report on American Women

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy established a presidential commission to examine and report on the status of American women. The President's Commission on the Status of Women, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt from its beginning until her death in 1962, published its report about women in the workplace, in education, and under the law in October 1963.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University are partnering to mark this important historical milestone and to reflect on the status of American women 50 years later.  There will be an event hosted by the JFK Library and Museum on October 14 and this event at the Radcliffe Institute on October 31.  Both events are free and open to the public but registration is required.


October 31, 2013
2–3 p.m.
at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in Cambridge
with Nancy Pelosi and Ellen Fitzpatrick RI '09
at the Knafel Center (formerly Radcliffe Gymnasium)

  • Video will be available within three weeks.

Photo courtesy of Nancy PelosiPhoto courtesy of Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress. From 2007 to 2011, she served as the first woman speaker of the house, and she is the first woman in American history to lead a major political party in Congress. Pelosi has led House Democrats for a decade and has represented the 12th district of San Francisco, California, for 26 years.

Under Pelosi’s leadership, the 111th Congress was heralded as “one of the most productive Congresses in history” by the Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein. President Barack Obama called Pelosi “an extraordinary leader for the American people,” and the Christian Science Monitor wrote, “Make no mistake: Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in American politics and the most powerful House speaker since Sam Rayburn a half century ago.”

Pelosi brings to her leadership position a distinguished record of legislative accomplishment. She spearheaded the passage of historic health insurance reform legislation in the House which establishes a Patients’ Bill of Rights and will provide insurance for tens of millions more Americans while lowering health-care costs over the long term. Other accomplishments include the passage of unprecedented investments in college aid, clean energy and innovation, and initiatives to help small businesses and veterans. She has been a powerful voice for civil rights and human rights around the world for decades.

Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service. Her late father, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., served as the mayor of Baltimore for 12 years after representing the city for five terms in Congress. Her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also served as mayor of Baltimore. Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, DC. She and her husband, Paul Pelosi, have five grown children and nine grandchildren.

For more information about the President's Commission on the Status of Women, see the webpage on supplemental resources.