We wish Lois Romano (see item on Hillaryland immediately below) had been on hand to meet our group of dynamic young women yesterday.

We gathered a bright and energetic group of college women and recent grads at the Hotel George on Capitol Hill-yes, we handed out awards for IWF’s annual College Essay Contest and heard two dynamic women, Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger and former corporate executive and political strategist Lindi Harvey, speak.

The question posed: What does it mean to be a feminist in 2006? What can proponents of individual liberty, free market economics, limited government, liberal democracy and personal responsibility do to reclaim feminism?

Quite a few of the winners (see list) were present to accept their awards and hear Granger and Harvey urge them to become more involved in politics. Both women said that they had never felt that they lacked choices as women. Harvey talked about going door to door to campaign for her father, a California city council member, and her work in the high-powered world of mergers and acquisitions before coming to Washington to work with Senator Elizabeth Dole, a role model for Harvey.

“They say Texas is where men are men and women are mayors,” Granger, a former school teacher, joked, in recounting how she went to work in the insurance because she was bringing up children alone and how she got into politics. She was mayor of Fort Worth before coming to Congress. The highpoint of Granger’s address came when she told of going to Jordan (in a group that included IWF President Michelle Bernard) to train Iraqi women in the processes of democracy. Most of the Iraqi women knew, Granger stressed, that they were risking their lives to participate but did not allow fear to deter them.

Perhaps the most sobering moment came when Harvey said that the coming election will be one of the most important in our history. “There are people out there who want to destroy us,” she said. None of the bright achievements of American women will last, she indicated, if we can’t meet the external threat.