News / USA

1st Female White House Press Secretary Aims to Empower Women

Dee Dee Myers hopes to change the world by boosting women and girls

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

To encourage women to help themselves and each other, Dee Dee Myers became a spokeswoman for the 'Empowering Your Confidence' campaign.
To encourage women to help themselves and each other, Dee Dee Myers became a spokeswoman for the 'Empowering Your Confidence' campaign.

Dee Dee Myers was the first woman - and one of the youngest - White House press secretaries.

Now, more than a decade after her service in the Clinton Administration, Myers is focused on empowering women in the U.S. and worldwide.

White House years

Never take it personally; never lose your sense of humor. That's the motto Dee Dee Myers lived by as President Bill Clinton's press secretary.

"Being the first woman was a little harder for me to establish my authority and my credibility in a culture, in Washington, which is pretty traditional," Myers says. "I definitely faced challenges and I sometimes felt I had more responsibility than I had authority, which I think is a problem a lot of women face. But I fought back and, over time, I was able to make things work better for me and most importantly for the president."

Myers was inspired by her mother and other successful women.

"My mom always told my sister and me that we could do whatever we wanted," she recalls. "She finished her master's degree and went back into the workforce, when I was in high school. So she was a great role model for me and my sister as well. And as I grew up in politics, I saw a lot of women moving up. That gave me the confidence to think that I might be able to make that next level. I don't think I've ever thought I would end up in the White House."

Myers says she was also lucky to have great mentors, both women and men.

"One of my most important mentors was one of my first bosses in politics, the former mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, who really treated me like a grown up when I was very young, with great respect and really taught me a lot about how to deal with people. And I'll always be gratefull," Myers says.

Dee Dee Myers was the first woman - and one of the youngest - White House press secretaries.
Dee Dee Myers was the first woman - and one of the youngest - White House press secretaries.


Empowering women


After leaving the White House in 1994, Myers worked as political commentator on cable and TV networks. She has also lectured on politics, the media and women's issues.

"I'm still interested in politics, but empowering women has become my passion because I think it can truly change the world," she says.

That's why Myers wrote a book, "Why Women Should Rule the World."

"I chose the title to sort of get people to think about what might change if women ruled the world," she says. "But the argument that I make is not that women should rule in place of men, but that women should rule alongside of men because we can talk for hours about how empowering women in the world is the single most important thing we could do to promote economic development globally and political stability and peace. I think there is no more generally effective way to change the world than to educate and empower women and girls."

However, she notes, women who have been successful - in business or politics - are not always willing to be mentors and help other women advance.

"I think in many ways that's getting better, but I think there is room for improvement," she says. "One of the things that I think women have to recognize is that there is enough room for everybody. I think sometimes that competition comes from insecurity. I don't think women give themselves enough credit for all that they contribute and all that they bring. I think sometimes women are more reluctant to take risks than their skills or talent or ambitions suggest they ought to be."

New campaign

To encourage women to help themselves and each other, Myers became a spokeswoman for the Empowering Your Confidence campaign. Sponsored by Jones New York, which sells clothes for professional women, the online campaign offers encouragement and advice from women who have 'made it'.

"One of the things it says to women is, 'Own your success, be confident, know what it is you can contribute to the workplace, to community and to family and be proud of it,'" she says. "You find more about the campaign at jny.com/empowerment. There is a lot there including something called 'the little black book on career advice.' We gathered anecdotes and advice from more than 100 women, from a bunch of different professions, talking to other women about what they think will help women to succeed."

Dee Dee Myers says working with this campaign is another way for her to reach out to women everywhere, helping them realize and reach their potential to not only succeed in their chosesn careers but also to change the world.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid