WASHINGTON — If there’s one message Elle wants to make clear, it’s that the magazine isn’t just another fashion glossy: It’s a platform to advocate for women.
“We’re interested in how women get their power, and how they use it once they get it,” explained Elle’s editor in chief Robbie Myers here Wednesday night to unveil her Women in Washington Power List, now in its sixth year, highlighting a broad swath of female political muscle.
At the Kreeger Museum, Myers saluted list makers like Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards with a three-course meal. Fellow honoree Attorney General Loretta Lynch was away on business, but Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s Homeland Security Adviser, represented the administration.
Monaco and the other nine power brokers, selected by Elle editors and former honorees, are featured in the April issue.
One of only a handful of male guests was Gerrit Ruetzel, Hugo Boss’s president and chief executive officer for the Americas, who said, “As long as we have events like this, it shows that more work needs to be done, because we’re celebrating women in power almost like they are a rare species.”
On the heels of yet another primary election, the evening steered clear of obvious displays of partisanship, and 2016’s list does include two Republican women, even the chair of the House Republican Conference, Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
“I think a lot of folks assume that a Republican woman is somewhere between Sarah Palin and ‘Desperate Housewives,'” said Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Millennial Republican strategist. “I think it’s important to tell the story that there are lots of different ways to be a Republican woman. The fact that we’re Republican doesn’t make us less of a woman. I’m very grateful that even though the positions I hold the majority of Elle readers would not agree with me on, the magazine would see fit [to include me].”
She and Jean Case, the new National Geographic Society chairman, said they had fun at the photo shoot, deferring exclusively to the magazine’s stylists. Case is featured in a Stella McCartney suit, while Anderson strikes a formidable pose in a Peter Pilotto skirt.
They, like the other honorees, were dressed for the party in Hugo Boss.
Case, who started out in the high-tech world, ditched her husband, AOL cofounder Steve Case, and attended the event with her daughter.
This month Elle is launching its #WeNominate Initiative, to encourage readers to motivate their friends, mentors, and colleagues to run for office. “I nominated my daughter,” said Myers. “She’s fifteen. In 20 years, she’ll be 35. Straight to the top.”
The others on the Women in Washington Power List are lobbyist Gina Adams; Janet Murguía, president and ceo, National Council of La Raza, and lawyer Karen Dunn.