5 Women Who Shape Tech Policy

Just over a year into her tenure as FTC chief, Edith Ramirez has given the agency a renewed focus on consumer-privacy protection.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez speaks about patent trolls and anti-trust issues at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, June 20, 2013. 
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National Journal Staff
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National Journal Staff
July 25, 2014, 1 a.m.

This year, Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Wo­men in Wash­ing­ton list fo­cuses on wo­men who ex­er­cise power­ful in­flu­ence in five policy areas: en­ergy, health care, tech­no­logy, de­fense, and edu­ca­tion.

Edith Ramirez, Chair­wo­man, Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion

Just over a year in­to her ten­ure as FTC chief, Ramirez has giv­en the agency a re­newed fo­cus on con­sumer-pri­vacy pro­tec­tion. She led the FTC as it took ac­tion against Amazon and Snapchat — and she could have an­oth­er ma­jor com­pany to deal with in the near fu­ture, as some law­makers are call­ing on the com­mis­sion to tar­get Face­book for ma­nip­u­lat­ing its users’ news feeds.

Edith Ramirez (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Im­ages)Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Cali­for­nia

Eshoo, who rep­res­ents parts of Sil­ic­on Val­ley, is the House Demo­crats’ lead­er on many tech­no­logy is­sues. As the rank­ing mem­ber on the Com­mu­nic­a­tions and Tech­no­logy Sub­com­mit­tee, she suc­cess­fully fought to en­sure that valu­able wire­less fre­quen­cies would be set aside to boost Wi-Fi net­works. She is also a cham­pi­on of net neut­ral­ity. An ally of House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, Eshoo could be­come even more in­flu­en­tial if she de­feats Rep. Frank Pal­lone in the race for the top Demo­crat­ic spot on the En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee.

Jes­sica Rosen­wor­cel, Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion­er

Rosen­wor­cel, a Demo­crat, has in­dic­ated a will­ing­ness to chal­lenge her own party, and is there­fore emer­ging as a cru­cial vote at the FCC as the agency heads in­to one of the busiest years in its his­tory. She was ap­poin­ted to the com­mis­sion in 2012 and was ap­proved un­an­im­ously by the Sen­ate after spend­ing many years on Cap­it­ol Hill. Be­fore en­ter­ing pub­lic ser­vice, she prac­ticed com­mu­nic­a­tions law in New York.

Mignon Cly­burn, FCC Com­mis­sion­er

Dur­ing the six months that Cly­burn, a Demo­crat, served as in­ter­im chair­wo­man of the Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion, she got a lot done. She opened up new air­waves to auc­tion off to wire­less com­pan­ies, lowered the price of pris­on in­mates’ phone calls, and saw through a big mer­ger. Be­fore join­ing the FCC in 2009, Cly­burn served on the South Car­o­lina Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion for 11 years. She is the daugh­ter of Demo­crat­ic Rep. James Cly­burn.

Susan Mo­lin­ari, Vice Pres­id­ent for Pub­lic Policy, Google

A Re­pub­lic­an former mem­ber of Con­gress, Mo­lin­ari is help­ing Google buck its im­age as a com­pany aligned only with Demo­crats. Since tak­ing over as the Web gi­ant’s top Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ist in 2012, she has helped to fend off an an­ti­trust in­vest­ig­a­tion and is of­ten at the cen­ter of de­bates over on­line pri­vacy. The com­pany re­cently moved its D.C. op­er­a­tion to a lav­ish new of­fice near Cap­it­ol Hill, com­plete with sev­er­al din­ing areas and a video-game room.

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