Wednesday was not exactly a banner day for diversity. First, we had this bro-tastic picture of the President meeting with his senior advisers in The New York Times.
Then, we learned that Jack Lew would be the next man nominated for Treasury Secretary. A job no woman has ever held.
Then we learned that another of the President’s female cabinet members had resigned. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. Any guesses who Jack Lew will be succeeded by as White House Chief of Staff? If you said another white guy, you are correct!
OK so, in fairness, Valerie Jarrett is actually hidden behind one of the bros in the brotastic photo and we can only see her leg. And that leg is attached to a brilliant and powerful woman who is at the epicenter of presidential power.
But what really irks me about this photo is that this wasn’t just the presidential golf and cigar club, this was the group assembled to discuss the fiscal cliff negotiations. In other words, looks like the big economic decisions are being handled by the boys, as they always have been, with prior catastrophic results.
It’s no accident after all that the only high level official to recognize the risk of unregulated derivatives and to fight like hell to get someone to listen and take action was a woman, Brooksley Born. Of course, none of the boys did listen and instead called her difficult, stubborn, and unreasonable.
It’s no accident that the person that Wall Street is most afraid of right now and who they did everything in their power to keep out of office is a woman. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
It’s no accident that the massive high stakes gambling that led to our financial meltdown happened at male dominated banks. As Christine LaGarde said at the time perhaps “Lehman Sisters” could have avoided default.
This isn’t just some anecdotal analysis or gratuitous man bashing either. Not only does research show that diversity generally leads to better decision making. Research on gender differences in finance is even more compelling. A British study found that higher testosterone in the saliva of male traders meant more risk taking. Another study found that men under pressure, surrounded by a bunch of other men, take even greater risks. High risk can be great for short term profitability. It can also be disastrous for long term financial stability. See our economy circa 2008.
I acknowledge that the president did want Susan Rice as his secretary of state, I get that the President isn’t just trying to check diversity boxes, he’s looking to see who the best person is for the job and I guess it just so happens that the best people are all pretty much white men.
Hmmm…the qualified ladies at the top of the page came to mind in the first ten seconds.
Now look, on the other side. So it’s not like we’ve got a whole lot of options here. The GOP has no commitment to inclusion, no commitment to a belief that America is better when the corridors of power look more like the rest of America. But we Democrats do have this commitment. So does the president.
Mr. President, we know you have our back on protecting us from unequal pay, back alley abortions and transvaginal probes. But you’re really letting us down here. Why don’t you gather up the all the dudes in power and Valerie Jarret’s leg out on the basketball court and put your heads together and do better? After all, we the women of America got you reelected.