Last Wednesday, President Bush gave his address to the country about "the new way forward" for Iraq, and lots of journalists—including me, of course—were in Washington to cover it. But before the Big Speech, there was the little-known Big Meeting.
The White House invited all the network anchors, and some cable anchors, along with the Sunday political show hosts to a meeting with unnamed VERY senior administration officials. (Obviously I know their names, but the agreement was that in order to attend the meeting, we couldn't reveal the people who spoke to us.)
And even though I've been in this business for more years than I'd like to admit, and interviewed countless Presidents and world leaders, it's still thrilling—and even a little awe-inspiring—to get "briefed" at the White House, no matter who is sitting in the Oval Office.
And yet, the meeting was a little disconcerting as well. As I was looking at my colleagues around the room—Charlie Gibson, George Stephanopoulos, Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, Wolf Blitzer, and Brit Hume—I couldn't help but notice, despite how far we've come, that I was still the only woman there. Well, there was some female support staff near the door. But of the people at the table, the "principals" in the meeting, I was the only one wearing a skirt. Everyone was gracious, though the jocular atmosphere was palpable.
The feminist movement that began in the 1970's helped women make tremendous strides—but there still haven't been enough great leaps for womankind. Fifty-one percent of America is female, but women make up only about sixteen percent of Congress—which, as the Washington Monthly recently pointed out, is better than it's ever been...but still not as good as parliaments in Rwanda (forty-nine percent women) or Sweden (forty-seven percent women). Only nine Fortune 500 companies have women as CEO's.
That meeting was a reality check for me—and not just about Iraq. It was a reminder that all of us still have an obligation to ask: Don't more women deserve a place at the table too?