Republicans in Congress have a general "disrespect" for women that's reflected in their legislative agenda, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi charged Friday, adding that she applauds the prospect of America having its first female president. [WATCH VIDEO]
The California Democrat said the GOP's policy priorities — from reproductive health to the economy to the environment — are evidence they have little concern for the issues women care the most about.
"[It's] disrespect," Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC's Alex Wagner that aired Friday afternoon. "Whether it's pay equity and raising the minimum wage, whether it's paid sick leave, or whether it's support for … child care in our country."
Pelosi said she's been warning for more than two decades that congressional Republicans are opposed, not only to abortion, but to the notion of family planning.
"People didn't really believe me until  when Republicans took the majority [and] one of the first things they did was to say, 'We're going to shut down government rather than fund Planned Parenthood,' " she said. "They've told me over and over again that they're not for family planning, domestically or internationally. It's a stunning thing."
Her comments came a week after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) conceded that Republicans need to work harder to cater to women – constituents and candidates alike.
"Some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be," Boehner told reporters last week in the Capitol.
His remarks coincided with reports that the National Republican Congressional Committee has been counseling Republican staffers on how to run more effective campaigns against female opponents.
Pelosi, the first female Speaker in the country's history, has long-advocated for a greater role of women in politics. But she suggested Friday that the hurdles to success are much higher, particularly at the highest ranks.
"You know one thing for sure: If you're a woman and you're effective, you will be a target," Pelosi said. "It isn't a problem for me, because I care more about being effective than I care about being a target. But it is a problem when I'm trying to attract other women to run."
Pelosi also cheered the notion that the country might see its first female president in Hillary Clinton.
"I always thought that we would have a woman president long before Congress would recognize that women should lead the way here, because the American people are way far ahead of Congress in terms of recognizing the leadership of women in our country and the desire to have a woman president," she said.
"And now we have the prospect, and that's a great thing."