Obama Should Appoint a Female FCC Chair to Fix His Cabinet's White Man Problem
If you haven't noticed by now, many people are taking note of a trend going on in the Obama administration. Can you guess what is it? Consider this: Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) was asked to serve as secretary of defense and anti-terrorism advisor John Brennan was selected as the president's nominee for the non-cabinet role of CIA director. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) was nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state late last year. Reports emerged that Obama would select Jack Lew, who is the fourth consecutive white male nominee, to replace Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary. So what's the trend? You guessed it! White men.
Women are being kept out of high-profile positions in the administration, but why? Do men not trust us? Are we not leaders? It is very disappointing to see Obama hand more opportunities to men, especially after a second term. Feminists are watching and we don't appreciate it. The Women's Media Center has started a petition on Change.org demanding more diversity in his appointments, specifically for the slot of the Federal Communications Commission chair. The petition states:
There has never been a female chair of the Federal Communications Commission – the independent agency that oversees America's telecommunications and media policy. The FCC is supposed to represent the American public. Half the public are women. It's long past the time to close the gender gap in our nation's leadership and in the media and telecom industries' leadership, where only 28.4% of TV news directors were women in 2011, according to the Women's Media Center's 2012 Status of Women in the U.S. Media Report. And the post atop the FCC is one of the most important opportunities available to raise the bar for representational diversity and decision-making in the media and telecom sectors, which are the infrastructure of this generation and of the future.
Even in Obama's first term, the record on female appointments were not as diverse as many expected. The appointments thus far also demonstrate a lack of racial diversity. Ambassador Susan Rice was the only person of color whose name was considered for a new appointment in a top-level position, but was pressured by Republicans to withdraw her name.
We are 51% of the population, but the majority of media is run by men for men. If you look at whose in control of decision making in the media, it's not difficult to understand. A woman chair of the FCC would send a very powerful and important message. We need a representation of American media to look like the American public. Many would argue that Obama has a good record of diversity being as though he has appointed two female supreme court justices and many members of his cabinet have been women, but the fight is not over yet.
Women are big consumers of media and we deserve to have an active voice in these policy debates. Also, lets not forget who put President Obama back in office: women!