Newt Gingrich, under fire today from his ex-wife, championed women members in the House when he became speaker, busting the GOP "glass ceiling" to elevate them to leadership roles, according to three current congresswomen.
"Newt Gingrich was very, very, very welcoming to all of us who were women. I mean he really just pushed us out front," said North Carolina Rep. Sue Myrick.
"He was the one who said immediately, 'We're going to put women in the chair. We're going to put women on committees.' He said, 'You would be a good appropriator.' He did do that," added Rep. Kay Granger of Texas.
They and other House members recently talked about Gingrich's promotion of women Republican members at a seminar hosted by the moderate Republican Ripon Society.
The September session was focused on broadening the Republican's base by reaching out to women and three House members offered up that Gingrich, not typically associated with championing women's rights, moved swiftly to promote women when he became House speaker after the 1994 "Republican Revolution" election.
The comments are timely because of the new charges Thursday against Gingrich by his former wife Marianne, who claims her ex-husband didn't treat her well.
Ripon videoed the session and provided the following key quotes from Myrick, Granger and Missouri Rep. Jo Ann Emerson.
Rep. Myrick, at 5:40 into the video, says: "Newt Gingrich was very, very, very welcoming to all of us who were women. I mean he really just pushed us out front and literally helped in a lot of ways for us to feel comfortable operating in the process, and he put us on committees that women weren't normally put on. To Newt's credit, he did a great job with that and it really helped a lot of us to find our bearings as we were starting into the job."
Rep. Emerson at 9:50 into the video states: "I do want to attribute my position on Appropriations to Newt Gingrich. ...The Republicans did not have women on Appropriations until that time."
Rep. Granger at 17:25 into the video adds: "We've all talked about Newt, but he was the one who said immediately, 'We're going to put women in the chair. We're going to put women on committees.' He said, 'You would be a good appropriator.' He did do that."