After meeting with Katie and so many of her great staffers last week, I have been thinking about the similarities between her, the first solo woman network news anchor, and Hillary Clinton, the first “viable” woman candidate for President.
As I read Howard Kurtz’s article, I realized I wasn’t the only one noticing some parallels:
“She is trailing in a highly competitive contest against her male rivals, is occasionally covered in a condescending way and faces predictions that she’ll be forced out of the race.
‘I identify with her to a certain extent because we share a gender,’ the CBS anchor says. ‘I’m sensitive to coverage that can be very subtly stacked against her, maybe a headline that has a little more snarkiness about her. . . . I understand that kind of coverage because I’ve experienced it myself.’ “
So as I wondered a little while ago, how are we ever going to get to a point where we are ready for a woman president if many think we’re not ready for a woman solo nightly network news anchor?
As I’ve been letting this roll around my brain, it occurred to me that it’s not a matter of whether we’re ready for women in ultimate positions of authority. The problem is that so many hold women to higher and different standards than men who have the same qualifications. And when women are perceived to have fallen short, the attacks aren’t far behind.
Or has she succeeded and people are just ignoring it? The ratings for the CBS Evening News aren’t all that different from NBC and ABC. Could we call that a success?? I would.
We need Katie to stay put AND to succeed on the terms that others have set because her job is still viewed by so many as a ‘man’s job.’
Just like the Presidency.
We need the traction of some high level female success so that starts getting the media attention, rather than the stories about women “opting out,” a nice phrase coined to get away from saying “failed.”
I’m not trying to put pressure on my new “BFF” Katie, but I really hope she’ll stay around for a while. Things aren’t looking good for Hillary Clinton at the moment and we sure could use some high profile examples of strong, successful women if we’re ever going to get a real shot at putting some estrogen into the Oval Office, let alone the major news organizations that shape our view of women’s success.