Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill
May 2, 2013
With President Obama’s appointment of Penny Pritzker to be Secretary of Commerce, his second-term roster of cabinet secretaries is nearly complete. NOW has done the math, and the numbers are good, but not great. The Obama cabinet is only about one-third women. With women making up 51% of the American population, President Obama’s cabinet should accurately reflect this and be one-half women.
NOW is particularly concerned that the main group of advisors who have the president’s ear not just on occasion, but three, four, five times a day, is still overwhelmingly male. Without a critical mass of women in his inner circle, the president is less likely to hear dissenting voices on urgent questions that disproportionately impact women more than any other group — such as chained CPI, a so-called grand bargain on the federal budget.
Last November, President Obama ran for re-election pursuing the women’s vote, and women decisively helped deliver him the White House, with 55% of women voting for the president. We now call on the president to listen to the voices that re-elected him and allow more women to have increased influence in his administration.