October 10, 2013

Obama adds to gender diversity in his administration

Featuring Michèle Flournoy

Source: Kansas City Star

Journalist Lewis W. Diuguid

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.”


  • Michèle Flournoy

    Chair, CNAS Board of Directors, Co-founder and Managing Partner, WestExec Advisors

    Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors, and former Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), w...