It's hard to imagine a more deserving inductee to the National Women's Hall of Fame than House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat.
Pelosi, of course, would belong in any gallery of prominent American leaders. Even her partisan and ideological adversaries would concede that she is among the most astute and powerful legislators in modern times. Her political savvy as a House Democratic leader proved critical in helping the party regain control in the 2006 election. Her colleagues then selected her to become the first woman in U.S. history to assume the speakership.
For Pelosi, the honor she will receive in Seneca Falls, N.Y., birthplace of the American women's rights movement, has special meaning. She described herself as "in awe" of the courage of the suffragettes who gathered at the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848.
"I guess it was something about growing up in an Italian Catholic household, where you couldn't go anyplace, you couldn't stay out late," Pelosi said in an interview Thursday. "That these women left home and spoke out in their own families about women's rights 165 years ago or earlier is quite remarkable to me. I felt when I became leader and a Speaker that I was standing on their shoulders and others could stand on mine."
Pelosi noted that the women's movement remains a work in progress, with affordable child care being the next milestone to pursue.
Pelosi and the late first lady Betty Ford are among the members of the Class of 2013 to be inducted Saturday. No women's hall of fame would be complete without either.