Even in the White House, Women at the top Struggle to be “In The Room”

As I wrote in It’s All Politics, you have to be visible, central and relevant (VCR) to be promoted in most organizations. And this advice doesn’t just pertain to young women. For a while, young women are often “cute-and-little” and draw attention and mentoring. But this time is brief. Then the ability to have your ideas heard and attributed to you diminishes. Apparently, the White House is no different. Even early on in the Obama administration, women had to learn to help each other be heard, to assure that ideas they advanced were attributed to them. Fortunately, the women who worked with President Obama influenced a change of culture, and it didn’t hurt that people who thought little of women’s contributions eventually moved on.

Would a female president make a difference? Would a Hillary Clinton presidency change the White House culture that certainly precedes President Obama as is clear in this article. It’s worth a read.

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3 Responses to Even in the White House, Women at the top Struggle to be “In The Room”

  1. Matt Paine says:

    Kathleen, I must ask you why is it a “we versus them” thing with you when it comes to women and men? I dont’ know your life experience but anyone who was or is married knows that woman have a lot of say so in things despite what you may think. Remember the saying that behind every good man is a woman. That is very true. Woman impact every aspect of life and have since Adam and Eve. The presidency is not about whether you are a man or a woman, it is about character, judgement, morality, practicality, and doing what is best for the greater good. I do not think that either gender has a monopoly on those things. I do not think Hilary would make a good president not because she is a woman but because she has made lots of bad decisions in the past about a number of things and in some cases has lied about it or spun it politically to get what she wants. The way things are with both political parties, we seem to be electing a figure head and not someone who is there own person. Donald Trumph has been the only one since Ronald Reagan who seems to be his own person. Bernie was close but too socialistic for my tastes although I liked some of his ideas. I want the country run by a person not a committee who is accountable to “we the people” not to a political party or special interests. I would be open to voting for a woman for president if the right one came along who was her own person and spoke her mind like Trumph does. Unfortunately, Hilary is not that person for me nor for many others. One of your articles mentions her health and how you think she is being discriminated against because of it. How many political figures do you know of running for office have an ambulance and doctor in their entourage on a regular basis? None other than Hilary that I have seen or read about since I have been alive. While I do not expect every candidate to be perfect in health, Hilary has issues that clearly indicate she has severe problems that could in fact diminish her ability to lead. Anyone voting for her expects her to lead for 4 years not her VP. If she is not reasonably physically up to the task then she needs to bow out. I would say the same about any person man or woman running for president. I would stay away from mental issues unless you can prove beyond reason that any candidate has problems in that area. Disagreeing with their policies does not count nor is it realistic or authentic. You are smarter woman than that! 🙂

  2. Interesting article. Thanks for the link. Glad to see that Obama has come around, although he has always been open to the talent of intelligent women–including his mother and his wife.

    • admin says:

      Hi JoAnne: It won’t surprise you given your writing that even those of us who want to include others sometimes forget to do so. I wouldn’t be surprised if early on he didn’t notice that women’s ideas were being skipped over or borrowed. That’s why it’s important to speak up when it happens, especially more than once. There are pleasant ways to let someone know they’ve interrupted you once too often as well. Women often tell me they have difficulty speaking up at a meeting and saying, “I see what you did with my idea there Jeff. I’m going to take it back for a moment to embellish a bit.” There’s also humorously saying — “Didn’t I say that twenty minutes ago?” In Comebacks at Work, there are a lot of these kinds of responses — some mild and some quite direct. It’s good to have a repertoire. Best, Kathleen

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