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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora