Lewis Diuguid

October 9, 2013

Obama adds to gender diversity in his administration

President Barack Obama’s nomination of Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve helps squash earlier questions that women weren’t well-represented in his administration. If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would add to the gender diversity in the Obama administration without Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women.”

In the 2012 presidential contest, GOP candidate Mitt Romney unwittingly coined the phrase “binders full of women” in response to questioning about his seeking qualified women for Cabinet positions.

It was almost as politically rich for the Democrats (and draining for the Republicans) as Romney’s comments about 47 percent of Americans being “takers,” depending on government handouts.

President Barack Obama and others capitalized on Romney’s blunders. But then after Obama, won the election, he had the “binders full of women” phrase turned on him for initially packing cabinet, national security and foreign policy positions with men.

The president picked former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel over Michele Flournoy for secretary of defense and replaced Hillary Clinton with Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state.

But that male-tilt has changed a lot as the year has progressed. Obama picked Sally Jewell as secretary of the interior and Penny Pritzker as secretary of commerce. He also picked Caroline Kennedy as the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Obama added to that list Tuesday with the nomination of Janet Yellen as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. If confirmed by the Senate for the position Ben Bernanke has held, she would add to the gender diversity in the Obama administration without the “binders full of women.”

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