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Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Blair Discuss the Role and Influence of First Ladies

They both talked about their time in public office, how they used their platforms to make a difference, and how their work now continues to make an impact on issues they are passionate about.

Article by Brittney Bain March 28, 2017 //   2 minute read
Holly Kuzmich, Mrs. Bush, and Mrs. Blair at the Bush Center (Grant Miller / George W. Bush Presidential Center)

The George W. Bush Institute today released an unprecedented study on the role and influence of first ladies. The report, titled A Role Without a Rulebook: The Influence and Leadership of Global First Ladies, was the topic of a livestreamed conversation Tuesday between Mrs. Laura Bush and Mrs. Cherie Blair at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

They both talked about their time in public office, how they used their platforms to make a difference, and how their work now continues to make an impact on issues they are passionate about.  

“You really do, to some extent, have to make it up as you go along,” said Mrs. Blair about the role of first ladies. “We are talking about ordinary human beings that have an extraordinary role thrust on them.”

Mrs. Bush talked about how she learned from her experience as First Lady of Texas and by watching her mother-in-law serve as America’s First Lady. She also discussed how her work at the Bush Institute now is a continuation of the work she began as First Lady, including advocating for young pro-democracy leaders in Burma and supporting Afghan women, and she highlighted the basis for the Bush Institute’s First Ladies Initiative.

“It’s really amazing when you have the chance to be with other first ladies,” said Mrs. Bush. “There really is a great camaraderie between spouses of leaders and we do get great ideas from each other, just even watching each other and knowing what the others are working on.”

Learn more by watching the conversation, reading the full report, or viewing an interactive digital essay on the research.