Marjorie Margolies, a 1963 College graduate and current professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, has released a new memoir about the way motherhood has intertwined with her political and journalistic career.
The memoir is titled “And How Are the Children? Timeless Lessons from the Frontlines of Motherhood," and features a foreword by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Margolies has written five best-selling novels, won an Emmy award for her work in journalism, served as a member of Congress, and become the first unmarried woman in the United States to adopt a child from another country, according to a press release.
A trailblazer for women in both politics and journalism, Margolies was the first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives for Pennsylvania in 1993. Throughout her time in office, she fought for women’s rights by opposing the “Hyde Amendment” and pushing for funding for breast and cervical cancer research.
Margolies first decided to adopt internationally while she was covering stories of adoption in Korea as a TV reporter.
“I was doing a series of stories and I got really involved with hard-placed kids," Margolies said. "I asked my desk if I could follow up and go to Korea to look at the orphanage situation."
Margolies would continue to adopt internationally, adopting another young girl, this time from Vietnam. Soon after, her marriage led her to expand her family. Margolies now has 11 children and over 40 grandchildren.
“I married someone with four girls. I went and got married and we had six girls. And then we had two boys. And then we were asked to take in a refugee family,” Margolies said.
The memoir explores her journey as a mother and how it has intertwined with her career in politics and journalism. When asked how motherhood weaved into her professional life, Margolies said that it was not a choice, but a necessity.
“If the question is by definition, 'Do you weave [motherhood] into your life?' you have to. And it didn't work all the time,” Margolies said. “We tried to make it work and sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t. But, I think that’s a good way to look at life.”
After her time in Congress, Margolies served as the president of Women’s Campaign International, an organization dedicated to empowerment and leadership training for women internationally and domestically. WCI works in over 45 countries to promote women’s rights.
Due to travel hardships from COVID-19, WCI increased its programming within the local Philadelphia area, working with local girls in its Girls Advocacy Leadership Series. Margolies titled her memoir after an experience she had with WCI.
“We went to see the Maasai warriors, and they don’t say, 'How are you?' They say, 'And how are the children?' So, that’s where it comes from.”
Margolies hopes that the book will inspire women to take action in things they are passionate about.
“I think my message is — and it’s pretty bland — to just do it. If you think you can, do it. It might not work out, but it’s worth a try.”
“And How Are the Children?” is available for purchase at the Penn Bookstore and other retail booksellers.