News / USA

Analysts: Women's Progress Entering Top US Positions is Uneven

Caroline Kennedy addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., September 6, 2012.Caroline Kennedy addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., September 6, 2012.
x
Caroline Kennedy addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., September 6, 2012.
Caroline Kennedy addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., September 6, 2012.
Pamela Dockins
— U.S. President Barack Obama is said to be considering women for several key positions in his administration that have previously been held by men.  Analysts say despite the potential political gains for women in the United States, their entry into the upper echelons of government remains uneven.  

U.S. officials say counter-terrorism adviser Lisa Monaco is on President Barack Obama's short list to head the F.B.I.  If Monaco is selected to replace retiring Director Robert Mueller it would mark the first time a woman has led the agency.

Obama is also said to be considering Caroline Kennedy for U.S. ambassador to Japan.  If selected, the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy would be the first woman to serve as the American envoy to that country.

Obama recently installed Julia Pierson as head of the Secret Service, making her the first woman to lead the agency that protects the president and his family.

The president commented on the uniqueness of Pierson's position during her March swearing-in ceremony.

"She is breaking the mold in terms of directors of the agency and I think that people are all extraordinarily proud of her," said Obama.

The male-dominated Secret Service came under harsh criticism last year, when some of its agents were implicated in a scandal involving prostitutes in Colombia.

Analyst Judith Warner of the Center for American Progress said on VOA's Encounter program it is notable that a woman is now in charge of the Secret Service.

"It is always very significant, particularly symbolically and practically as well, when a woman is brought to head an agency or comes to be very prominent in an organization that is typically very much identified with a strong kind of masculine or macho culture, which certainly the Secret Service is," she said.

According to analyst Shari Bryan of the Washington-based National Democratic Institute policy group, such moves do not occur often enough.

Bryan says women are often "marginalized" or "sidelined" into what she calls "softer" positions - jobs that appear to be more related to women's issues.  On the other hand, she says men are sometimes groomed for certain jobs.

"One of the things we do not talk about is the fact that most men who come into politics do not necessarily come with expertise or a background in budget and finance or military operations, but they are given those opportunities because of male leadership," said Bryan.

In addition to facing challenges in moving into certain types of leadership roles, Bryan says women continue to face challenges in advancing professionally depending on where they live.  

"There are certain regions of the world that still have very low levels of women’s participation, particularly in the Middle East, while other regions such as Latin America and parts of Africa are excelling in participation and there are different reasons for that," said Bryan.

She says those reasons include strategies such as the use of quotas to ensure a certain percentage of elected officials are women.

Bryan says another change is that women's organizations are beginning to link up at a global level to advocate for women who are qualified for high-level government positions.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid