Updated: Sep 9
She persisted is more than a quote, it is my story...
and with the Roe v Wade reversal...
Who Said Nevertheless, She Persisted?
Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving Senate Republican Leader in American history, unanimously elected to lead the conference eight times since 2006. He was talking about Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
The Origins of the She Persisted Quote
"Nevertheless, she persisted," is a motto adopted by the modern day feminist movement in 2017 after an incident in the US Senate.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren was persistent in her determination to read a letter while voicing her opinion against Jeff Sessions confirmation as US Attorney General. Men in the Senate kept trying to silence her and she did not let that stop her, she read the letter. When the media asked Mitch McConnell about his attempts to silence her , he said, "Nevertheless, She Persisted."
During the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Elizabeth Warren protested his appointment and proceeded to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, about her opinion of Mr. Sessions' lack of suitability as a federal judge. As Senator Warren read the letter, she was interrupted by Republican Senator Chair Seve Daines and soon after, Senator Mitch McConnel asked for a vote to silence Senator Warren forcing her to take her seat.
At this point Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley continued to read the letter without disruption or a vote to silence him.
Afterwards, a reporter asked Mitch McConnel for his thoughts on the Senate silencing Senator Warren, to which he replied, Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.
As women, we have had our voices silenced by men too often and to see it in our government was upsetting for those who have been silenced by the men in their lives too often. So in 2018, women adopted the quote as the rally cry for the rights of women on International Women's month for that year.
I still experience this and have in a number of ways. Not getting the job because, "They went with the man, though I was the better candidate." Came the voice of the recruiter through the phone, she was less than impressed and vowed to never work with them again. I've had men tell me that I didn't know what I was talking about or they weren't interested, only to have a man tell them the same thing and think it was the best idea since sliced bread.
What Journalists had to say
According to Daniel Victor of The New York Times, "A broader theme—that women are too commonly shushed or ignored—emerged on social media." Victor also noted that "a man silencing a woman struck some as all too common", and "rang familiar with many women who had their own stories of being silenced."
The Atlantic's Megan Garber wrote, "American culture tells women to be quiet—many ways they are reminded that the
y would really be so much more pleasing if they would just smile a little more, or talk a little less, or work a little harder to be pliant and agreeable." Further, she wrote, when Senator Warren was silenced, "many women, regardless of their politics or place ... felt that silencing, viscerally ... Because, regardless of their politics or place, those women have heard the same thing, or a version of it, many times before."
Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune commented, "Three little words that women can draw on for decades to come, when something needs to be said and, darn it, we plan to say it. When we're being talked over in meetings. When we're fighting to be heard in male-dominated fields. When we're standing up for our values. When we're doing valuable work and people reduce us
to our appearance."
Valerie Schultz wrote in America: the Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture, "It is a phrase we women embrace because persistence is what we do." After describing stories of persistent women from the Gospels, she concluded:
We women persist. Isn't that our job? Throughout history, we have persisted in our quest for respect, for justice, for equal rights, for suffrage, for education, for enfranchisement, for recognition, for making our voices heard. In the face of violence, of opposition, of ridicule, of belittlement, even of jail time, nevertheless, we have persisted.
— Valerie Schultz, America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture
Join us to discuss, "What it means to be a woman in the 21st Century"
From the Atlantic:
Mitch McConnell silenced Elizabeth Warren in the Senate chamber. That only made her voice louder.
When presiding Senate chair Steve Daines, of Montana, interrupted his colleague, Elizabeth Warren, as she was reading the words of Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor on Tuesday evening—and, then, when Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell intervened to prevent her from finishing the speech—many women, regardless of their politics or place, felt that silencing, visceral