Montana Ethic Project: We need more women in government


Hugh Carey

Carol Williams talks about the need for equal representation of women in government.

This is the ninth chapter of the 32-part video series “The Montana Ethic Project.” This chapter features Carol Williams speaking on “The Imperative for Female Governmental Participation.”

Williams, a Democratic state senator from Missoula between 2004 and 2012, rose to become the first female minority and majority leader in the history of the Montana Senate. You can watch the whole video below. Here is how it begins:

“In the early ’80s we had a very big scare of what the nuclear buildup in both the Soviet Union and in the United States could bring. It was a very tense time. What I noticed after many months of paying attention to the nuclear debate issues was that almost nobody was ever on television expressing an opinion of a woman.

“They were all generals and colonels and scientists. But they were all men.

“I got to talking with a few friends and we decided that it would be really interesting if we could start a group that would be just for women to explain nuclear technology and the importance of the issue in terms of everyday concerns around the kitchen table, of how it would affect your education and lack of spending on schools because we’re spending all the money on nuclear weapons.”

Here is another, edited excerpt from Williams’ presentation:

“We have a lot of work to do. The challenge I think is getting more women to run, getting more women elected. To do that we have to reach young people. We have to make it clear that we still only make 77 cents of the dollar that men make; there are still issues of choice. All of those things we thought we were going to solve in the ’60s haven’t gone away. It’s taken longer than we thought. It’s going to be the challenge for those of us who are still involved to reach out more to younger people and bring them into making the same kinds of sacrifices that we’ve made.

“Because we aren’t going to have equity in this world, we are not going to have real democracy in America, we are not going to have justice in America, until we have equality in America.

“It’s not because women are smarter, it’s not because women are better. Women lead differently. Women have different ideas. And with the challenges we have in this century, we cannot change America and make it better without everybody at the table, everybody putting their best foot forward, and everybody making a sacrifice to meet this challenge.”

PERC_Logo_MontanaEthicPERC—the Property & Environment Research Center—is a proud sponsor of the Montana Ethic Project. To learn how PERC’s ideas can help us honor one another’s rights to land, water, and wildlife, visit


First week: Project introduction.

Second week: Richard Drake on “Terrorism and the Consolation of History.”

Third week: Mike Gear on “The Value of Athletics.”

Fourth week: Franke Wilmer on “Gender Equity.”

Fifth week: Gordon Brittan: “The Founding Fathers.”

Sixth week: Jim Posewitz: “Montana Sportsmen and the Hunter’s Ethic.”

Seventh week: The Rev. Jessica Crist: “Religion and Politics: Can They Co-exist?”

Eighth week: Chuck Tooley: “The Montana Character.”

Ninth week: Steve Bullock: “Citizens United v. Montana.”

Next week: Bob Rowe: “Towards Technological Development.”

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