In 2009, Cokie Roberts described the updated version of her best-selling book "We Are Our Mother's Daughters" to Insight Host Jeffrey Callison as a way for today's generations to learn from the women who came before them.
The legendary broadcast journalist who joined NPR in 1978 and helped define the sound of the network died Tuesday. She was 75.
In this April 2009 interview, Roberts discusses the many different roles women played in society and why she decided to highlight them in a book. She also talks about the women who helped shape America in its early years, which are featured in another book she wrote "Ladies of Liberty."
On the title "We Are Our Mother's Daughters"
I've actually gotten a great deal of push-back about that, of women saying, "I'm not my mother's daughter, you can make me be my mother's daughter!" But the truth is, is that what I'm talking about is learning from the women who came before us and passing on that knowledge to the women who come after us. So it is that in that sense that I'm talking about we are our mothers daughters, and I am very struck by the similarity among women over time and regardless of place, really, with that sense of connection.
On the women she highlights in the book
I do have individual women that I profile, mainly women that I have interviewed in my years as a reporter. So it's a lot of different women, but it's also categories of women. Women as politicians, women as athletes, women as scientists, women as soldiers. And I had originally written those chapters 10 years ago, but they were out of date, I'm happy to say. Out of date in that there are many more women now playing those roles. You know, 10 years ago there were not 75 women voting members of the House of Representatives, 17 in the Senate. There was not a woman speaker of the house. There was not a woman four-star general, there were not 13 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
On if she ever considered going into politics
Well, you know, I'm actually the only member of my original nuclear family not to have run for Congress. They didn't all win, but I met my husband when I was 18 years old, and he was always going to be a journalist. So it would have been a little hard on him if I had gone into politics, but I feel like my years of explaining what's going on in terms of politics and government has been a form of public service. It's not anything like the same kind of public service as elective office, and I'm a great admirer of the people who are willing to do that. But it just wouldn't have been the right thing in my life.
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