The Women Behind the Woman


NEWSWEEK COVER STORY 8/26/16: Like their candidate, most came of age in the 1960s. Leaf through their yearbooks and wedding albums and you find bell-bottoms, long hair and granny glasses--the same look Hilary rocked at Wellesley. Flip forward a few pages and there they are in shoulder pads, often the only woman in sight at the law firm or corporate office. They started getting jobs before 1980, when more women identified as housewives than as workers, and were part of the social revolution that has led to women now making up almost 50 percent of the American workforce.

Many in the Clinton circle were, like her, "firsts." A close high school buddy was the flight attendant who led the fight against airline gender discrimination. Another was the first in her business school.

Some made their own fortunes, some inherited money or married rich, but all started writing big checks at a time--not that long ago--when men handled that dirty business. Clinton's top female donors now rank among the 150 most generous givers--who are still mostly male--to Clinton super PACs. That is a mark of dubious distinction in the era of Citizens United , but a milestone in the rise of female political power.

If they were men, they might be called kingmakers. Reporters would have encountered them in hotel lobby bars, tossing back scotch as they tried to spin the media. But these queenmakers drink herbal tea (and the occasional martini) and pepper their talk with New Age-isms like "our journey" and "the goddess of light."

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