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"Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president in 1872, with Frederick Douglass as her running mate," writes Debilyn Molineaux.

Want different politics? Pay attention to women like these.

Molineaux is the co-founder and executive director of Bridge Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 civic reform groups. (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)

This is the third in a series of opinion pieces we are publishing during Women's History Month to recognize the contributions of women to the democracy reform movement.

Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president in 1872, with Frederick Douglass as her running mate. While disparaged and trivialized at the time, she was relentless in pursuing equal rights and labor reforms. Many advances made in the early 20th century can be traced back to Woodhull's "radical ideas" from the 19th century.

Our lesson: Never underestimate the ability of women to transform our culture. One of the greatest strengths of women is transmuting their experience into something for the good of our larger human family.

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We can and must embrace our diversity as the operating system of our nation, write the leaders of the Bridge Alliance.

Diverse people must be in every room where decisions are made

Molineaux and Nevins are co-founders of the Bridge Alliance, a coalition of 100 democracy strengthening organizations. (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)

As we look to history, it has always been the mystics and scientists, innovators and outliers who saw the future most clearly and acted to push — or call — society forward, to awaken from our slumber of the way things are and envision a better future. The stories of their personal transformation inspire us to be better individually and collectively. With this inspiration, we can and must transform our nation into a more perfect union.

As co-founders of the Bridge Alliance, we are inspired and challenged by the problems facing our country. Our 100 member organizations work daily to protect the ideals of our American Dream so we can create healthy self-governance that has never fully existed before. Our members work to harness the tension of our differences as we enact our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, balancing individual and community needs.

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