As noted on this site and elsewhere around the web, President Obama's inner circle of cabinet members and advisers is becoming increasingly white and gray. Of the five announced departures from the Cabinet, only two are males (Geithner and Panetta). And recent top-level appointments have all been men. But while these statistics may come as a disappointment to some, the president's recent optics problem shouldn't be surprising.
As reported in Fawn Johnson's July cover story for National Journal, a majority of women in Washington still feel D.C. is a boys' club. While the number of men and women working in federal government are about equal, women are less represented in top level positions. As illustrated in the chart below, men outnumber women on the top half of the government pay scale, while women outnumber men on the bottom.
Last summer, National Journal surveyed 717 women professionals in the beltway, and their answers make it clear: Women feel there are more opportunities for men in this town. Here are the highlights:
- 73 percent of the women said that men have more opportunities to get ahead than women do.
- Half said they had personally experienced discrimination at work because of gender.
- 60 percent said it is harder for women to rise to positions of leadership.