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Madeleine M. Kunin
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Madeleine M. Kunin was the first woman governor of Vermont, and served as the Deputy Secretary of Education and Ambassador to Switzerland under President Bill Clinton. She is the author of Living a Political Life and Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Woman Can Win and Lead.

Currently a Marsh Scholar Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont, Madeleine lectures on history and women's studies. She also serves as president of the board of the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a nongovernmental organization that she founded in 1991. She lives in Burlington, Vermont. For more information, please visit Chelsea Green.

Entries by Madeleine M. Kunin

Aging Population

(1) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 10:54 AM

The world is getting older. Imagine a graph that looks like a steep mountain trail. We are climbing at a rapid rate to an unprecedented increase in the aging population. The world will contain 1 billion people over 60 by the year 2020.

These facts were spelled out for me...

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Let's Begin a National Conversation About Race

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 11:52 AM

"I can't breathe" were the last words we heard from 43-year-old Eric Garner, who died from a policeman's chokehold on a Staten Island sidewalk in New York.

None of us can breathe freely after watching the video of that struggle as it was replayed again and again on TV.

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Single Parents Want to Be Good Parents

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2014 | 10:40 AM

It's time to accept the fact that there is little stigma to single parenthood. "Born out of wedlock" is a phrase seldom heard today. More than 40 percent of new mothers are unmarried. Seventy-two percent of African-American children live in single parent families.

The growing trend of having...

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Let's Talk About Mental Illness and Suicide

(0) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 4:05 PM

Let's talk about it. Let's stop whispering about mental illness and suicide. Two suicides -- one close to home (Cheryl Hanna, who many of us had known and loved), and another, Robin Williams (who we had known as an actor who made us laugh and sometimes cry) -- have forced...

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Do Something for Gun Safety

(80) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 12:10 PM

"Why did Chris die?" Richard Martinez asked all of us after the shooting death of his son and five other students on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus.

I cannot get his anguished voice out of my head. It was a mixture of anger, grief and despair that cried...

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Keeping the American Dream Alive

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 11:37 AM

The American Dream has been the back bone of my life story. In June of 1940, my mother, brother and I took the train from Zurich, Switzerland to Genoa, Italy to board the SS Manhattan bound for America. A little more than a week later, we waved to our first...

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Women and Children's Lives Can Be Saved

(1) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 7:59 AM

We know how to prevent the 900,000 maternal deaths that occur every year in the world. And one million babies could be saved each year if they had better nutrition and health care.

I learned this and much more while participating in a recent symposium on maternal and child...

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When I Met Nelson Mandela

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 12:26 PM

Nelson Mandela had been released from prison only a short time ago, and here he was, standing under a white tent on the banks of the Charles River in Boston, greeting guests who had been invited for a celebratory lunch by Senator Ted Kennedy.

I, as governor at the...

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Women in the Majority

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2013 | 4:59 PM

The first time I visited the Vermont State House in 1962, I had a 3-month-old baby who was sleeping in the car bed -- this was before super-safe car seats -- she was tucked in with my friend Betsy's baby, who was about the same size. We were off on...

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Flying South

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 3:07 PM

The Canadian geese settle down in the shallow waters of Lake Champlain in front of our house. They hold their conversations early in the morning and late into the night. At first, they would keep me awake longer than I had intended, and their chatter would bring me back into...

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Where Is My Towel?

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 11:42 AM

I was surprisingly upset with the loss of my towel. It was a generous, blue and white-striped beach towel, the kind that I could completely wrap around my body, like a warm cape.

I had turned my back to comb my hair for just a minute in the locker...

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Holding the Door Open

(3) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 11:29 AM

I think the world could be divided into two groups: those who hold the door for the next person and those who don't. I don't understand why some people walk through a doorway without looking behind them, letting the door slam or slide into whoever is behind them, while others...

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We Cannot Remain Bystanders

(36) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 2:27 PM

War is hell, no doubt about it. But as in Dante's Inferno, there are separate circles of hell. Those who kill their own people with chemical weapons should surely be relegated to the ninth circle where Satan awaits them.

President Obama is right to remind us of the stomach-turning pictures...

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The First Thousand Days of a Baby's Life

(1) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 1:56 PM

The first thousand days of a baby's life are likely to determine the rest of her life -- whether she grows up to be healthy or not, both physically and emotionally. Early childhood education begins early, even before birth. That's what the latest scientific studies of brain development...

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What Equality Means

(105) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 12:31 PM

June 26, 2013 will go down in history. The Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage have given those couples, who live in states which approved gay marriage, full citizenship under the constitution.

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which had denied federal benefits to gay couples, is dead....

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National Security Depends on the Nation's Food Security

(1) Comments | Posted June 13, 2013 | 5:18 PM

One in five children in America lives in a family who often does not know where the next meal is coming from. Nearly one million seniors living alone do not have enough to eat on a daily basis. They make painful choices -- whether to spend their meager incomes on...

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Equal Pay for Women Translates Into a Bigger Paycheck for Families

(28) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 9:31 AM

When the governor signed the Equal Pay bill into law, I eagerly watched his hand move across the page, thanked him for the commemorative pen and cheered. There is much to cheer about in this new law. It will help close the pay gap between women and men, which is...

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Paid Sick Days, good for families, good for business

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 10:57 AM

When some working moms and dads wake up in the morning feeling sick, they don't just worry about calling the doctor. They worry about calling the boss.

Why? Roughly 40 percent of Vermont employees have no paid sick days. Getting sick, or having a sick child, means losing a pay...

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When Women Do Well, Everyone Does Better

(1) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 4:58 PM

When Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique 50 years ago, little did she know that her call for greater gender equality for American women would reverberate around the world and impact the economic condition of women and men.

Today, we have the evidence to demonstrate that there is a...

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Sheryl Sandberg Is Half Right

(22) Comments | Posted March 13, 2013 | 9:26 PM

The debate about women in the workplace -- why so few at the top, why is it so hard to have kids and hold a job -- hit a new decibel level when two top executive women in the high tech world added their two cents -- or should I...

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