Trailblazer Series: Maggie Feldman-Piltch of WiSe List
This week in our trailblazer series we sat down with Maggie Feldman-Piltch, special assistant to the CEO of the American Security Project, to learn a little more about her inspiration behind her project the WiSe List. For those of you new to WiSe List, it’s a free, member-run listserv targeted towards women in security, foreign policy, international affairs, and related fields. The WiSe List provides information on jobs, events, fellowships, and informal networking and mentoring to women of all experiences and levels.
The inspiration behind the listserv initially sprang out of a women in foreign policy Facebook group Feldman-Piltch was a member of. Someone posted asking about national security mentorship programs that weren’t tied to the military or government, and though no one had an answer, about other 200 women were interested in the idea. Feldman-Piltch jumped at the opportunity, and so the WiSe List was created.
Based in Washington DC, she sees it as critical to help connect a new generation of foreign policy thinkers with opportunities in the city and around the world. Occasionally she has come across people who believe that someone else’s success comes that their loss. “I refuse to believe that,” she says. “We’re growing, we’re free, and open to anyone who identifies as a woman.”
Critical to Feldman-Piltch is the idea that different identities constitute different lived experiences for every woman. She wanted to ensure that this could be taken into consideration when creating this listserv, and the open participation format allows for anyone to share what they deem important. “The intention is to serve as an aggregator for all these opportunities, all over the world, with a more informal way of connecting with each other,’” she says.
When asked what her vision of a feminist foreign policy might be, Feldman-Piltch answers that “it would be in national security’s interest to have decisions makers actually reflect the population, and not just white women, but all women: trans women, women of color, queer women - women everywhere.” Before wrapping up our conversation, she put a spin on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous quip about equality to note that “when the entire government is run by women I’ll feel comfortable that we’ve achieved equality.”
We think that’s a pretty fantastic marker for equality too.