Episodes We Love: The Double Bind Of Female Ambition

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“My friend said, ‘Professor So-And-So, this is Hillary Rodham. She’s trying to decide between us and our nearest competitor,’ meaning Yale. And this professor looked down at me and he said, ‘We don’t need any more women.’”

Before she was Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, she was Hillary Rodham, a young woman with Ivy League ambitions. As she advanced through school, Secretary Clinton continually ran up against people who undercut her aspirations with sexist remarks. She joins the Sugars on today’s episode to answer a letter from a physicist, whose family and friends make her feel guilty about her accomplishments.

“I keep part of myself hidden from people who think I will react unkindly even though work is a big part of my life,” explains the letter writer. “Should I respond to these reactions by defending myself?” Secretary Clinton answers her question with a three-point plan, and the Sugars warn against the pitfalls of apologizing for female ambition.

The Sugars Recommend
“The Woman Upstairs,” by Claire Messud

This episode was originally released on November 18th, 2017.


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