Sunday morning television news shows have been dubbed “men-in-dark-suits day” by Politico. The story goes on to note:
“According to research by American University’s Women & Politics Institute, female lawmakers have composed 13.5 percent of the total Sunday show appearances by all representatives and senators this year. “
So where does the discrepancy lie? Are there not enough women lawmakers to book for these shows? Are the shows’ producers not booking the women? Or do the women themselves have other obligations that make these appearances next to impossible to fit into their already-packed schedules?
Newsweek’s Jessica Bennett writes that it becomes a finger-pointing issue with researchers and press secretaries claiming network bookers gravitate toward booking men, while the network producers say there aren’t enough women to book and when they do attempt to book a woman it becomes a challenge to pin her down.
That the United States is lacking in women lawmakers is not new. The Whitehouse Project issued a benchmarking report in November 2009 noting that women make up only 17% of the members of the U.S. House and Senate. In state legislatures, women hold 24% of the seats.
How can we achieve more female lawmakers and also see more of the ones we do have? Vision 2020 hopes to address questions like these during its October conference, where we have some of the brightest and strongest women leaders attending a panel discussion about Politics & Government. The panelists for the discussion are Sara Manzano-Diaz, Director, Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor; Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University; and Marie Wilson, President and CEO, The White House Project. The two moderators are Karen Dougherty Buchholz, Vice President, Administration, Comcast Corporation, and Donna Cooper, Secretary of Planning and Policy, Administration of Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell.