Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Albright May See Things Men Overlooked

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Albright May See Things Men Overlooked

Article excerpt

When Madeleine Albright broke through the glass ceiling, it was almost inevitable that she'd get nicked by a few shards. Some folks huffed that her nomination as secretary of state was just "politics." Others said the president was just "paying back" women's groups.

Such is the fate of her generation of women. Once upon a time they were banned from the top jobs on account of gender. When they finally make it, somebody is sure to say that they got the job because of their gender.

But this time, the shards were rather less pointed than usual. The U.N. ambassador had a resume that overwhelmed the other contenders. In the end, the president was honest when he described Albright's "first woman" status as an added extra, even though "my momma's smiling down at me right now." But with all this skittishness about the "woman thing," not even her supporters have been eager to discuss the upside of this first. What might this woman, as a woman, bring to the foreign policy job - not merely by her presence, but by her point of view, her peripheral vision? Albright herself has never been reticent to see her own life in the context of the woman's movement. In another time, as she likes to say, "the only way I might have found to influence foreign policy is by marrying a diplomat and then pouring tea on an offending ambassador's lap." But in a transitional era, this woman went to graduate school while raising three daughters, and worked for Ed Muskie, who praised her as "a very bright girl with a good mind." At Georgetown, she was director of the women in foreign service program, as well as a popular professor. In politics, she was the one who brought Geraldine Ferraro up to speed on "throw weights" during the 1984 campaign. At the United Nations, she was, in her words the "only skirt among 14 suits on the Security Council." But Albright also held a monthly lunch with the meager seven other women ambassadors. In short, you won't need to explain to this secretary of state why rape is a war crime. …

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