Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Pipeline to Obama Is Male Dominated ; Record on Appointments of Women Betters Bush's but Only Equals Clinton's

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Pipeline to Obama Is Male Dominated ; Record on Appointments of Women Betters Bush's but Only Equals Clinton's

Article excerpt

The Obama administration has compiled a record that significantly exceeds the proportion of women appointed by President George W. Bush but does no better than matching the Clinton administration.

In an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 29, 10 of President Barack Obama's top economic advisers stood before him discussing the heated fiscal negotiations. Every one was a man.

In the days since, Mr. Obama has put together a national security team dominated by men, with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts nominated to replace 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 second-term inner circle appears likely to be dominated by men.

From the White House down the ranks, the Obama administration has compiled a broad appointment record that significantly exceeds the proportion appointed by President George W. Bush but does no better than matching the Clinton administration's in the proportion of female appointees, 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, and up from the roughly one-third appointed by Mr. Bush.

The skew was widespread: Male appointees under Mr. Obama outnumbered female appointees at 11 of the 15 federal departments, for instance. It occurred at all levels of government service, from the highest-level advisers on down. 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.

"We're not only getting better than previous administrations, but we also want to get better ourselves as well," Nancy D. Hogan, assistant to the president and director of presidential personnel, said in response to the Times analysis. "The president puts a premium on making his team representative of the American people."

The White House itself employs almost exactly the same number of men and women, and administration officials said they hoped to even out the ratio across the government and help ensure that future Democratic administrations have a diverse and deep bench of candidates for high-level jobs, Ms. Hogan said.

Mr. Obama does have a number of women in his closest circle of advisers, including Valerie A. Jarrett, a senior adviser, and Mrs. Clinton. But in the White House, there are 6 women with top-rank salaries, compared with 14 men, according to a 2012 report to Congress.

Interviews with current and former members of the administration, both men and women, suggested that there was no single reason for the discrepancy, and several repeatedly spoke of the administration's internal commitment to diversity and gender equity.

But several said that the pipeline of candidates seemed to be one problem. They said it seemed that more men than women were put forward or put their names forward for jobs. In part, that might be a result of the persistence of historical discrepancies: Men have traditionally dominated fields of government service like finance, security and defense.

The Obama administration has helped reverse that trend by putting women in top policy-making jobs in traditionally male-dominated fields, officials said. …

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