Eye-Opening Women: Valerie Jarrett, Condoleezza Rice, Lesley Stahl

(CBS News) President Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, former Secretary of State and CBS News contributor Condoleezza Rice, and "60 Minutes'" Lesley Stahl joined "CBS This Morning," on Wednesday as part of "Eye-Opening Women," a Women's History Month series.

Jarrett and Rice shared their views on women in politics and balancing their high-profile careers with their personal choices. Today, women make up only 18 percent of the 535 seats in Congress, and out of 197 heads of state around the world, only 22 are women.

Jarrett attributes the gap to a "range of issues" and said "women who are supporting other women and ... men in leadership roles that promote women" are critical elements to closing the gender gap in politics.

She added, "President Obama has surrounded himself and empowered women in key positions, both in the White House and also key positions within the administration," citing that Obama has nominated women as Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Health and Human services, and appointed two of the three women currently sitting on the Supreme Court.

Jarrett also said that Obama "says we would not have the gridlock we have in Washington if we had more women in Congress."

Eye-Opening Women: Sandra Day O'Connor
Eye-Opening Women: Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown, and Bobbi Brown
Arianna Huffington's advice for younger, "awkward" self

For her part, former Secretary of State Rice, who served under President George W. Bush, believes it's critical that women take the initiative to put themselves out there.

As a young international security expert, she said, "had I been waiting for a female, black, Soviet specialist role model, I would still be waiting. The people who advocated for my career were white men. In fact, they were old white men."

Stahl, who served as CBS News' first female White House correspondent, added that while "living it, it feels so slow," the gains women have made in recent decades are "astronomical" and amount to "one of the great revolutions of our lifetime."

The trio shared their advice for younger women -- Jarrett advised, "You have to be able to accept rejection and get back up," and Rice added "I wish that someone had told me that my own sense of unease about whether I really belonged was shared by everyone in the room, including my male colleagues."

Stahl said it is crucial for mothers to tell their daughters "they can do it all."

Jarrett, Rice, and Stahl debated their tactics for balancing choices about marriage and motherhood with their demanding careers. For more of their conversation on "CBS This Morning," watch the video above.

Comments

Follow Us

The Newsroom