The Ingenious Strategy Obama’s Female Staffers Use To Ensure They Are Being Heard

It’s all about banding together

Image via Wikipedia

It should come as no surprise that the White House has never been the most welcoming place for female staffers. Even while Barack Obama represented change and progressive values when he ran for office in 2008, the male-dominated team behind his campaign filled his cabinet, making it difficult for existing female staffers to break in.

In an interview with the Washington Post, former White House communications director Anita Dunn echoed that point of exclusivity, saying, “If you didn’t come in from the campaign, it was a tough circle to break into. Given the makeup of the campaign, there were just more men than women.” Specifically, men represented two thirds of Obama’s top aides, the Post reports. Naturally, in this environment, women faced the uphill battle of first getting into the room for important meetings and then being heard once there.

So female staffers came up with a plan. They started using a strategy called “amplification,” which ensured that when one woman spoke, another would back her up to cement the point. By banding together and repeating each other’s contributions, female staffers pushed their male colleagues to hear them out while also preventing them from claiming their ideas.

As one anonymous former Obama aide told the Washington Post, “We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing.” Apparently, Obama noticed their efforts and started bringing more women onto the team.

Should Hillary Clinton win the presidency this election season, the gender barrier could be dismantled for the first time in White House history. Among her senior staff, Clinton has actually chosen more women than men to head important projects. And if you’re not into politics, think of it as a science experiment. As a country, we’ve never experienced true gender equality within our government, so we don’t know what benefits we will gain by uplifting both halves of the population. Hopefully, by then, women won’t have to rely on clever strategies to ensure they’re being heard—they’ll simply be acknowledged for the quality of their contributions, not their inherited sex.

Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less

The disappearance of 40-year-old mortgage broker William Earl Moldt remained a mystery for 22 years because the technology used to find him hadn't been developed yet.

Moldt was reported missing on November 8, 1997. He had left a nightclub around 11 p.m. where he had been drinking. He wasn't known as a heavy drinker and witnesses at the bar said he didn't seem intoxicated when he left.

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore

The common stereotypes about liberals and conservatives are that liberals are bleeding hearts and conservatives are cold-hearted.

It makes sense, conservatives want limited government and to cut social programs that help the more vulnerable members of society. Whereas liberals don't mind paying a few more dollars in taxes to help the unfortunate.

A recent study out of Belgium scientifically supports the notion that people who scored lower on emotional ability tests tend to have right-wing and racist views.

Keep Reading Show less