Thursday, January 15, 2009

female Secretaries of State

With the impending appointment of Hillary Clinton to the office, three of our last four S of S will be females, including Albright and Rice-- with Powell in between them.

Relying on my memory, I thought that Jeane Kirkpatrick had been S of S under Reagan. (The first female in that position. Albright held that position as well, perhaps leading to my confusion about S of S.) And I had forgotten about Warren Christopher. So, I was thinking that there was a more significant pattern here. But in any case, three out of the last four-- as one of the highest-ranking officials in the U.S. government-- is still interesting. Moreover, it's an office whose responsibilities are in the international domain.

Perhaps it's random-- and likely to be 50/50 going forward, but maybe not. Thoughts...

-Do women have a comparative advantage in that position-- for example, as negotiators, diplomats?

-Or a different sort of advantage: does having a female in an international position "make a statement to the world" about our "commitment to diversity" or implicitly take pokes at more authoritarian regimes?


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