Never thought I’d say it, but I feel a deep bond of solidarity with Katie Couric right now. Or at least a little twinge of sisterhood or something. Here’s Katie blogging a couple of days ago about being invited to what she cringe-inducingly (sorry, can’t help it, sisterhood be damned) calls “the little-known Big Meeting” before the Big Speech — the president’s, that is, speech about Iraq, that is. The Big Meeting was a White House background briefing with TV anchors and talk show hosts. Katie’s post gets off to a slow start:
And even though I’ve been in this business for more years than I’d like to admit, and interviewed countless Presidents and world leaders, it’s still thrilling—and even a little awe-inspiring—to get “briefed” at the White House, no matter who is sitting in the Oval Office.
But then we start going somewhere:
And yet, the meeting was a little disconcerting as well. As I was looking at my colleagues around the room—Charlie Gibson, George Stephanopoulos, Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, Wolf Blitzer, and Brit Hume—I couldn’t help but notice, despite how far we’ve come, that I was still the only woman there. Well, there was some female support staff near the door. But of the people at the table, the “principals” in the meeting, I was the only one wearing a skirt. Everyone was gracious, though the jocular atmosphere was palpable.
The feminist movement that began in the 1970’s helped women make tremendous strides—but there still haven’t been enough great leaps for womankind. Fifty-one percent of America is female, but women make up only about sixteen percent of Congress—which, as the Washington Monthly recently pointed out, is better than it’s ever been…but still not as good as parliaments in Rwanda (forty-nine percent women) or Sweden (forty-seven percent women). Only nine Fortune 500 companies have women as CEO’s.
That meeting was a reality check for me—and not just about Iraq. It was a reminder that all of us still have an obligation to ask: Don’t more women deserve a place at the table too?
Me, I’d love to hear more on the revelation-about-Iraq part, but maybe that’s for another day. Meanwhile, Katie, if you ever need a few more good stats on this front, we can help.