Every day, more doors open for women, allowing them to step into territories once only allotted to men. These doors open thanks to women who dare to enter these arenas, despite huge obstacles and criticism, paving the way for future generations and changing the way we look at the roles of not only women, but also men, in the world. They are pioneers. One of these women who helped make these changes is former congresswoman Patricia Schroeder.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an exclusive interview with Patricia Schroeder, via Skype, to discuss her long history of public service, and her latest project, an interactive children’s app called The House That Went On Strike. For those who are unaware of this amazing woman’s journey in life, below are a few highlights. The interview, as well as a personal message from Patricia Schroeder regarding last week’s shooting in Aurora, Colorado, is found at the end of the post.
Forty years ago, Patricia Schroeder became the first woman from Colorado elected to Congress. At that time, she was also the second-youngest person ever elected to Congress. She would serve Colorado’s first district for 24 years. What made this even more groundbreaking was that she was the mother of two small children. When she decided to run for Congress, she ran under the assumption that she would not win. Unexpectedly, she was thrust into the political arena, with a two-year-old and six-year-old in tow, and being told from even the most prominent feminists of the time that she was sure to fail. None of this stopped her, not even the fact she would have to bring diapers to the floor of Congress when babysitters would be unavailable and she was potty-training her two-year-old.
While in Congress, Patricia Schroeder did some amazing things. She was the first woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. She was also a huge advocate for families and is primarily responsible for both the 1985 Military Family Act and 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, where she pushed hard to make sure both mothers and fathers benefited from the act. Twenty-five years ago, she briefly ran for President of the United States; an act that still brings her much hateful criticism because of her tearful withdrawal. She is also responsible for the phrase “Teflon President” when referring to former President Ronald Reagan.
When Patricia Schroeder left Congress after 24 years, her public service did not end there. Since then, she served as the president of The Association of American Publishers, she currently works with both Common Cause and the Marguerite Casey Foundation, she wrote a book called 24 years of House Work…and the Place Is Still a Mess, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and so much more.
Most recently, she narrated The House That Went On Strike, an interactive book app for iPad, developed by Jumping Pages.
The goal of this app is to help parents teach their young children the importance of respecting the home and doing their chores. As a parent, I know full well how difficult it can be to get children motivated to help around the house. After awhile, children can tune us out as we turn into nags. The House That Went On Strike offers a different perspective to young children. It tells the story from the point of view of the house, and how the house must feel when the mess starts to pile up and chores get neglected.
The story is cute and parents are sure to empathize with the frustrated house. With easy-to-find interactive elements — allowing parents to leave the younger children alone with the app and explore it for themselves — and the ability to turn off the narration — allowing older children to practice their reading skills — Jumping Pages did a good job balancing a lesson-based story with fun interactive elements.
And then we have Patricia Schroeder’s narrating, which is lively, fun, and entertaining. She did a really superb job not only narrating the story, but expressing the frustration of the house. She provided the voice for the house, and she also provided the voices for all the other characters in the story. Your child may not appreciate it now, but some day they may look back at their time with this app and properly appreciate a woman, who spent more than half her life serving the public and families, reading them a story about the importance of helping around the house.
Last week, when I sat down with Patricia Schroeder, we discussed the following: having a young family while in Congress; the pressures of being a mother plus career woman in 1972; her achievements over the last four decades, including the Watergate class, her brief run as a presidential nominee, and being inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame; the highs and lows of her political career; her work since she left Congress, including The Association of American Publishers, Common Cause, and Marguerite Casey Foundation; her work on The House That Went On Strike; how women’s roles and families have evolved over the last four decades; and some wonderful advice for families with young children.
Patricia is deeply saddened by the event in Aurora, Colorado. I have been asked to pass on the following message:
Pat Schroeder, in deference to the victims of the recent tragedy in her beloved home state of Colorado, will be donating to candidates this election cycle who focus on increasing mental health access to Americans, banning assault weapons and plugging loopholes in U.S. gun procurement laws.
Published yesterday and rated 4+, you can purchase The House That Went On Strike in the iTunes store for $2.99.
A copy of this app was provided for the purpose of this review.