Women are no better represented in Obama’s executive branch than they were in Bill Clinton’s, 20 years ago, the New York Times’ Annie Lowrey reports, and they’re more poorly represented in top positions. Is this a very big problem? On the one hand, it might be splitting hairs. Obama has appointed record numbers of female judges to the federal bench, after all, including two to the Supreme Court. Plus, as long as there are a reasonable number of women in the mix, it might be more important to judge the appointees based on what they do for women. On the other hand, as Lowrey’s husband Ezra Klein points out, it’s not just troubling that Obama hasn’t passed Clinton’s benchmark, in a time when the number of women in the Senate has doubled. Obama also keeps specifically passing on qualified women.
Administration officials passed over [Michele] Flournoy for ex-Sen. Chuck Hagel. They passed over [Lael] Brainard for Jack Lew. They passed over acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank — yes, she served under Clinton, too — for CEA chair. It looks likely that they’ll pass over Janet Yellen for Larry Summers … These are all people the Obama administration chose to entrust with enormous responsibility by giving them the number-two positions at their various agencies, and all of them receive high marks for their performance. They just keep getting passed over for the top job.
There’s still time for Obama to tip the scales by making Yellen chair of the Federal Reserve, of course.