Entries in 2010 Women's Conference (2)


Laura Bush Lends Support to Bullied Gay Teens

Photo Courtesy - Archie Carpenter/Getty Images(LONG BEACH, Calif.) -- Former first lady Laura Bush, who came out in support of gay marriage and abortion after she vacated the White House, split again with some social conservatives to back anti-bullying measures intended to protect gay teens.

"Bullying of every kind, certainly gay teens, but any children is really terrible," Bush said in an interview Tuesday for the Yahoo Newsmakers series at the Women's Conference 2010 in California.

"We've read cases of children on the Internet where kids are committing suicide. It's really terrible. As adults, we have to be the ones who do something about it," Bush said in reference to a spate of recent suicides by gay teens, including Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, who jumped off a bridge after his roommate surreptitiously broadcast a private sexual encounter on the Internet.

Bush said she was proud of openly gay Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, who was one of the first public officials to share a story of being bullied as a teenager and tell young people "it will get better."

Since then, celebrities and politicians, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama, have videotaped messages of hope directed at gay teens, as part of an online campaign called It Gets Better.

In May, more than a year after leaving the White House with President George W. Bush, the first lady admitted publicly that she and her husband "disagree" on many social issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage.

Despite her newfound willingness to diverge from her husband, Bush was careful with her words when talking about Republicans, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"Sarah Palin is Sarah Palin," Bush said in response to a question about how the one-time GOP vice presidential candidate has reshaped the way women run for office. "That's her style. It's obviously been effective. There are a lot of people who watch her and want her support."

Bush said she did not know whether Palin, who has recently visited Iowa and publicly endorsed a slate of candidates from across the country, would run for president in 2012.

"[Palin's] out there," Bush said. "She's speaking everywhere, but I don't know if that's because she wants to run. I have no idea."´╗┐

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor on Life and the Supreme Court

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LONG BEACH, Calif.) -- Some of the most influential women in the nation shared their life experiences and tried to find new ways to tackle the world's problems Tuesday while speaking at a gathering of some 30,000 people in Long Beach, Calif.

Women -- and some men -- from politics, the press, entertainment, and everything in between appeared for the annual Women's Conference, hosted by California First Lady Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On stage during the conference, ABC's Diane Sawyer interviewed two trailblazers: Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who joined O'Connor on the court twelve years later. With the appointments of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, four women have now served on the court, with three currently on the bench.

"I've got to tell you, I went to the Supreme Court recently...I sat in on an argument, and I looked up at the bench on which I sat for 25 years, and what did I see?" O'Connor said. "I saw on the far right, a woman. On the far left side, a woman. And here in the middle, a woman. And it was dazzling."

The justices told Sawyer not only about their experiences on the high court but also of their early struggles in the workplace and the challenge of raising families while pursuing their careers.

"The world was so different. I was at Harvard Law School for my first two years. There were two buildings with classrooms. Only one of them had a women's bathroom," Ginsburg said.

Maria Shriver also spoke before the crowd, talking about her own experiences and the challenges of being a woman in the public eye.

"I'd like to admit today I was wrong to try to talk Arnold out of running for governor seven years ago," Shriver said. "The last seven years have taught me that, in fact, it can be the beginning of a journey that forges a stronger, wiser, more confident you."

Back on the Supreme Court panel, Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg also spoke about their belief in the unique role of women in modern life.

"Do you really think at the Supreme Court, where reason prevails, that women bring something unique?" Sawyer asked.

"Well, I think in most hard legal issues, a wise old woman and a wise old man are going to reach the same conclusion," O'Connor said. "But there are cases where our experience as women might bring some perspective to the situation before the court."

"I think that our conversation is more informed because all together, we've had such a wealth of experience," Ginsburg said. "Much better than the day when all of the people on the court looked alike."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio