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Entries in Sexism (2)

Tuesday
Sep202011

Does Sexism Pervade the White House?

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama, who rose to power on a message of inclusion and equality, came under fire this week when an author quoted female members of his administration as saying the White House was a sexist and "hostile" work environment.

Since excerpts leaked from the book Confidence Men, journalist Ron Suskind's take on how the Obama administration handled the financial crisis, Anita Dunn, former White House communications director, and Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, have denied the substance of their remarks and said they were misquoted.

"I felt like a piece of meat," Romer was quoted in the book as saying of one meeting with Larry Summers, former chairman of the National Economic Council, complaining she was "boxed out" of the discussion.

According to the Washington Post, Dunn says in the book: "This place would be in court for a hostile workplace because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."

The two women seemed to briefly open a window on the White House, giving a rare glimpse inside a tightly messaged administration, only to quickly close it.  Accusations, however, that Obama favors male staffers have dogged him since his election when reporters noticed he spent critical face time on the basketball court and the golf course exclusively with men.

But the whispers about how the Obama administration works behind the scenes contrast sharply with the president's public persona, the father of two daughters who appointed two women to the Supreme Court, and six women to cabinet or cabinet-equivalent positions.

Women, both Democrats and Republicans, who have worked in the White House in previous administrations describe the environment as intense and competitive.  Interviews with female officials who worked under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said White House culture rewards the best ideas, regardless of who came up with them.

Though they haven't worked in the Obama White House, these female ex-officials said they were surprised by the way Dunn and Romer were quoted as characterizing their workplace.  They said they did not experience workplace harassment or sexism and were inclined to believe Dunn and Romer had indeed been misquoted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct302010

Nonpartisan Groups Cry Foul Over Gawker's Christine O'Donnell Story

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Allegations of sexism aimed at women candidates this year are approaching an all time high – or low – depending on how you view it. The latest victim is Tea Party-backed Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell. On Thursday, the gossip website Gawker published an anonymous post by a man who claims he had a one-night stand with a drunken O'Donnell on Halloween three years ago.

"Christine O'Donnell has plenty of problematic platforms, and Gawker could have used its brand of humor to dismantle her campaign," said Yana Walton, of the Women's Media Center. "Instead they chose this story to create a misogynistic media landscape."

Despite the title of Gawker's post ("I Had a One-Night Stand with Christine O'Donnell"), the night culminated not in sex, but with both parties falling asleep.

Attacks against female candidates have prompted the Women's Media Center, along with the Women's Campaign Forum and Political Parity, to begin tracking sexist attacks in the media against female candidates in the 2010 midterm election campaign. The groups launched their effort in September, researching and fielding calls from tipsters around the country.

"All of us have been extraordinarily surprised at the amount of incidents we've responded to on a daily basis," said Walton.

Walton sited examples including what she said were reporters endorsing candidates for their "tight little butts", morning radio shock jocks talking about candidates' cup sizes, and late night host David Letterman jokingly linking Nancy Pelosi to a real-life violent, sexual event.

"Nancy Pelosi found in a hotel room drunk and naked with Charlie Sheen," said Letterman, flagging the fictional moment as the number two sign that Democrats are in trouble.

Siobahn "Sam" Bennett, president of the non-partisan Women's Campaign Forum, said the insults are getting worse, and attributes the escalation to the uncensored nature of the Internet.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio