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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More