Welcome to Women in Politics: College Edition, where promising women leaders in student government on college and university campuses across the country will be featured on msnbc.com over the course of the year. Maia Eliscovich Sigal has been nominated by Yale University as a leader making a difference not only through key issues on campus, but in bridging the gender gap in politics.
As part of a new series at msnbc, “Women of 2014,” these hand-selected women become part of a larger discussion of women candidates and women’s issues on a national level. “Women of 2014” is a home for all women in politics – notably those in some of the year’s most pivotal races – with newsmaker interviews, profiles, photos, a Twitter trail following more than 35 candidates, and deep dives into the key conversations.
From the Ivy Leagues to the Big Ten to liberal arts colleges and beyond, young women are making a difference across the country – meet them here!
Name: Maia Eliscovich Sigal
School: Yale University
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Concentrations: Economics & Political Science
Dream job: Working on policy for economic development
Class year: 2016
What is your biggest challenge as a leader on campus?
The biggest challenge is transforming complaints into proposals. At the Yale College Council, I have the job of overviewing projects with regards to Student Life at Yale, like gender neutral housing, or the University’s alcohol policy. Working with the council has been gratifying and challenging. I believe I can help coordinate our efforts to respond to as many needs as possible, although it is hard to carry them through when these are highly determined by the University’s authorities. It is easier to find something to complain about than to find the best, and most efficient way to solve it.
Which female leaders do you draw inspiration from?
It is hard to name only one person. There are many women in powerful positions, carrying through publicly detectable tasks as well as more intangibles ones (being mothers, aunts, sisters, and friends). Among the women in politics that I admire are Texas State Senator Wendy Davis and President Michelle Bachelet from Chile. Another woman that I find inspirational is Marjane Satrapi, author of the graphic novel Persepolis.
What comes to mind first when you think about important moments in history ?
One of the moments I find especially interesting is the May protests in France, in 1968. Students protested against the government of de Gaulle, asking for open dialogue between the government and the people. They challenged the conception that democracy is only an election, and proved the power of education in the construction of the State.
What do you think should be President Obama’s No. 1 priority?
Among other priorities, I believe President Obama should focus on education reform, to improve high school education in the United States.
What’s next on your reading-for-fun list?
The reading-for-fun list is always long, and I know I won’t be able to finish it. I would like to read autobiographies by Nelson Mandela, and Anwar El Sadat. I am also very fond of a Brazilian writer, Clarice Lispector, and would like to read more of her novels.
To nominate an exceptional undergraduate female leader in student government please email Anna Brand at Anna.Brand@nbcuni.com