You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Pretty PR: Obama pulls women into new photo

- Special to The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Obama and his team faced some scrutiny last week after adding a photo to the White House Flickr account featuring a meeting among the president's top advisers. The only problem: It was 100 percent men.

Coming from an administration — and an ideology — that harps on diversity, it didn't take long for the photo to be plastered all over the Internet, including the beloved New York Times.

According to the Times in an article published Tuesday, Jan. 8, "male appointees under Mr. Obama outnumbered female appointees at 11 of the 15 federal departments. ... Obama’s recent nominations raised concern that women were being underrepresented at the highest level of government and would be passed over for top positions."

Yesterday, the White House promptly trotted out three women — counsel to the president, Kathryn Ruemmler, Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Nancy-Ann DeParle, the deputy chief of staff for policy — for a photo-op with the president.

Appearing like a Boys' Club would be damaging for the administration, and it's no doubt why the administration pulled this PR move. As the Washington Free Beacon first reported Jan. 3, the White House in 2011 paid female staffers 18 percent less than their male colleagues. Obama's re-election campaign was no different when it came to inequality, with female employees earning an average of 5.3 percent less than their male counterparts.

Gender isn't the only diversity issue the administration has faced. Keith Koffler of the White House Dossier reported in November of last year that nearly all senior advisers to the nation’s first black president – whose appeal to minorities and women won him re-election – are white males. Of the top 10 most important White House advisers, only one – Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett – is black.

A photo of Obama's Chicago campaign crew was posted on the White House Tumblr account last April, and the army of young adults campaign manager Jim Messina had assembled was almost uniformly white.

The White House has a lot more work to do to ensure women and minorities are more equally represented. For a party that is supposed to value diversity, the president and his Democrat counterparts need to start practicing what they preach.