Helping women help themselves

first_imgWhen Victoria Budson was a college sophomore, her parents asked her what she planned to do with her life.“I want to lead social movements,” she told them. Slightly baffled, her father — one of several Harvard graduates in the family — responded, “Well, are you going to go to the Business School or the Law School?”“Back in the ’80s, saying you wanted to have a career in feminism was something of an unknown,” Budson recalled one recent morning from her office in the Taubman Building. Little did Budson or her parents know that her passion for women’s equality would in fact lead her to Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), where she has served as executive director of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) for the past 15 years.By helping HKS faculty to craft policies and programs to help bring about gender equality in American politics and abroad, Budson has stayed true to her original cause. She even earned that parent-assuaging Harvard degree: In 2003, she became the first HKS employee to graduate from the School’s midcareer master in public administration program while working full time.“The work I do here is about closing gaps,” Budson said. “People make laws out of their life experience. If women aren’t represented, the most basic needs of women’s lives won’t be translated into good policy.”Budson, who grew up in Wellesley Hills, Mass., left home to attend Haverford College but developed back problems that forced her to return to her hometown. During her two-year recovery from spinal fusion surgery, she enrolled at Wellesley College, a change that led her to new thinking.“I don’t think one can ever understand how to build equality if one has never been someplace where one is put first,” she said of her time at the women’s school. Even the college’s gym was a revelation. “I’d never been in a sports facility before in my life where the women’s locker rooms weren’t an addition.”After graduating in 1993, Budson embarked on a career in politics. She soon became the first woman chair of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts and was elected to Wellesley’s town meeting.In 1996, she met Joseph Nye, then the new dean of the Kennedy School, who mentioned that HKS hoped to start a women’s center. “I felt that I knew just what should be done,” she said. Nye agreed, and hired her to be the first executive director of WAPPP.At the time, the HKS faculty had one woman. When Budson called an introductory meeting with the School’s female students, the group could fit comfortably in a single function room.“I sat with these women — who were at a school of government, who thought enough of themselves to have applied to a school like Harvard, and who were successful enough to be admitted — and I said, ‘How many of you are interested in running for public office?’” Budson recalled. “I got one hand.”Convinced the School could do more to help produce elected women leaders, Budson started From Harvard Square to the Oval Office, a program that trains 50 female students each year. The program hosts workshops with top political consultants on everything from media appearances to fundraising strategies, supports summer political internships, and gives its graduates a support network to tap into down the road.“We help people go from having the idea to run, to having the skills and confidence and actually envisioning themselves as political leaders,” she said.Outside Harvard, Budson remains active in state politics and women’s issues. This past summer, she was elected chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, after being appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick.  The commission, an independent state agency, works to advance equality for women in all areas of life.“My work here at Harvard is incredibly important, but [it] won’t feed women who are hungry or shelter women who don’t have homes,” she said, although hopefully it will lead to policies that leave fewer women hungry or homeless in the future. The research and ideas coming out of WAPPP will improve systems over time, but Budson insists that women must get involved now, no matter how imperfect the political process.“Structural change will take a really long time,” she said. “I can’t wait that long.”last_img read more

NBA wrap: Dwyane Wade’s wild buzzer-beater stuns Warriors

first_imgThe remainder of Dwyane Wade’s career can be measured in a matter of weeks, but the veteran showed Wednesday he can still do amazing things.Wade hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Heat a 126-125 upset over the visiting Warriors. He had to pump fake to get the shot off, had his shot blocked, recovered the ball, and had the presence of mind to step back behind the arc, where he fired up the game winner off one foot. HighlightsThe Vince Carter of 2010 would have posterized someone with a monster slam here, but this gravity-defying shot is still a thing of beauty.VINCE HANGS & FINISHES! 😱📱💻: https://t.co/NvMjiVFV6V pic.twitter.com/cECFC3Ap5x— NBA (@NBA) February 28, 2019Trae Young’s perfect alley-oop finds John Collins for a reverse dunk.That’s an @ATLHawks REVERSE OOP! #AllEyesNorth 108#TrueToAtlanta 104WATCH on NBALP: https://t.co/yTkITWsvb6 pic.twitter.com/irkTA459EI— NBA (@NBA) February 28, 2019What’s Next? 76ers (39-22) at Thunder (38-22) 8 p.m. ET — Philadelphia star Joel Embiid will sit out his fourth straight game with tendinitis in his left knee, and his backup, Boban Marjanovic, injured his knee Monday and will not play. New acquisition Tobias Harris has stepped it up recently, averaging 24.3 points in his last four games while shooting 59 percent from the field. Still, the 76ers are big underdogs against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in Oklahoma City. “I wondered when Kobe hit that game winner on me … I said, ‘How is that possible?'” Wade told Fox Sports. “Thank you for showing me the way — ‘Mamba’ mentality.”The 37-year-old Wade had a great game beyond that shot, coming off the bench to score 25 (he hit five of his eight 3-point attempts) and pulling down seven rebounds. Goran Dragic led the way for Miami with 27. Klay Thompson (36 points), Kevin Durant (29) and Stephen Curry (24) all had big nights for Golden State (43-18).The Heat (27-33) are now just a half-game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It would be only fitting if Wade headed off into retirement with one final postseason appearance.Studs of the NightEric Bledsoe posted a triple-double with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds for the Bucks in an overtime win against the Kings.Hawks guard Trae Young tallied 36 points and added 10 assists and eight rebounds in a 131-123 win over the Timberwolves.Karl-Anthony Towns scored 37 and collected 18 rebounds in the loss to the Hawks.Damian Lillard scored 33 and had seven rebounds to key Portland’s 97-92 win over Boston.Hornets guard Kemba Walker had 35 points and five steals in Charlotte’s 118-113 loss to Houston.Duds of the NightThe Nets hit only eight of 35 3-point attempts, the difference in a 125-116 loss to the Wizards. Mike D’Antoni on James Harden’s recent shooting struggles: ‘That’s the least of my worries’center_img Marvin Bagley III injury update: Kings rookie’s knee sprain puts ‘cloud over our locker room’ It banked in. Wade did not call it — when you’re a 13-time All-Star, you don’t have to call anything.DWYANE WADE buries the #TissotBuzzerBeater for the @MiamiHEAT victory! #ThisIsYourTime #OneLastDance pic.twitter.com/wxAFaxNn6X— NBA (@NBA) February 28, 2019It’s Wade’s fifth career game-winning buzzer-beater, but first in almost 10 years. Yet afterward Wade brought up another shot from 10 years ago, Kobe Bryant’s banked 3-pointer over Wade that gave the Lakers a win over the Heat on Dec. 4, 2009. Related Newslast_img read more