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Le Monde, France

Obama Causes Women to Despair

By Corine Lesnes

Translated By Lindsey Cambridge

11 January 2013

Edited by Rachel Smith

France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

It’s these types of controversies that make one realize that the second term has begun. Everyone well knows that Barack Obama has done a lot on behalf of women, who in turn thanked him on Nov. 6. But then he didn’t replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Susan Rice, causing women to voice complaints. John Kerry will be the first white man at the head of American diplomacy since 1996.

The New York Times contributed to this controversy by publishing a classic photo by Pete Souza, Barack Obama’s photographer. In it, we see the president, seated, and his colleagues, all standing. And not a single woman, although we can make out a leg draped in black behind Dan Pfeiffer, the White House Communications Manager. The leg seems to be that of Valerie Jarrett, a woman who knows everything and is the presidential couple’s confidante.

Since then, the president has been criticized by columnists. One of them, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, teased Obama that he needs a “binder full of women,” using the phrase for which Mitt Romney had been reproached.

"To be clear: I’ve got nothing against white guys. Some of my best husbands are white guys. White guys get to be secretary of state, too, and John Kerry will be the first in 16 years. But to look at the most important jobs in the government, in 2013, and see such lack of diversity is just so drearily disappointing.”

Several female White House staffers have left, as have several cabinet members. And not a single woman was nominated to the national security team.

The Obama camp quickly countered with a series of photos. One of the photos was less dictatorial-seeming. Everyone is sitting and two women – not including Valerie Jarrett – form part of a circle of advisers. In another photo, one can barely distinguish a few men.



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