A day after the Washington Post devoted 21 paragraphs on page A7 to "Obama's bypassing of women for Defense, CIA posts," as recounted by Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters, it was the New York Times' turn. Not to be left behind in a rare opportunity to bash the Obama White House from the left, the Times placed its sexism story on Wednesday's front page: "Obama's Remade Inner Circle Has an All-Male Look, So Far" by reporter Annie Lowrey.
The Times' photo caption writer captured the ludicrous flyspecking of the quota-obsessed left: "President Obama on Dec. 29 with senior advisers in the Oval Office. The only woman facing the president was (look very closely) Valerie Jarrett, whose leg is just visible in front of the desk."
In an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 29, 11 of President Obama’s top advisers stood before him discussing the heated fiscal negotiations. The 10 visible in a White House photo are men.
In the days since, Mr. Obama has put together a national security team dominated by men, with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts nominated to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as the secretary of state, Chuck Hagel chosen to be the defense secretary and John O. Brennan nominated as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Given the leading contenders for other top jobs, including chief of staff and Treasury secretary, Mr. Obama’s inner circle will continue to be dominated by men well into his second term.
From the White House down the ranks, the Obama administration has compiled a broad appointment record that has significantly exceeded the Bush administration in appointing women but has done no better than the Clinton administration, according to an analysis of personnel data by The New York Times. About 43 percent of Mr. Obama’s appointees have been women, about the same proportion as in the Clinton administration, but up from the roughly one-third appointed by George W. Bush.
The skew was widespread: male appointees under Mr. Obama outnumbered female appointees at 11 of the 15 federal departments, for instance. In some cases, the skew was also deep. At the Departments of Justice, Defense, Veterans Affairs and Energy, male appointees outnumbered female appointees by about two to one.
Lowrey sneaked in a liberal regulation to solve the alleged problem, as if all American companies should be forced to pay for alleged gender disparity in the Obama White House.
But experts on the representation of women in government and business said that the White House had more work to do to ensure that women were more equally represented, including changing the work conditions within the administration. “It is not just a pipeline issue,” said Marie C. Wilson, a women’s leadership advocate who is the founder of the White House Project, a New York-based nonprofit group. “The pipeline in government has loads of talented people in it, and loads of talented women.”
She noted that women with young families, more so than men with young families, tended to drop out of jobs that demanded long hours -- a trend also noted by administration officials. Perhaps as evidence of that skew, there were about 57 percent more male appointees than female appointees at the assistant or deputy assistant level.
Experts said that family-friendly policies, like paid maternity and paternity leave, might keep more women in administration jobs. “We’re the only industrialized nation in the world with no mandatory paid leave,” said Victoria A. Budson, the executive director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard. “This is about creating a better system of labor throughout the course of a person’s career.”