Politics

Women’s group: Obama’s cabinet ‘clearly’ needs to be 50-percent female

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

As President Barack Obama finalizes his second-term cabinet picks, the nation’s leading feminist group is pushing for more female appointments.

Currently, the president, who garnered 55 percent of the women’s vote on Election Day, has eight females in his 23-member cabinet. According the National Organization for Women, that number isn’t nearly high enough.

NOW president Terry O’Neill, in an interview with The Daily Caller, explained that she would like to see complete gender parity in Obama’s second-term cabinet.

“I think that if half of the cabinet were women and half of the Supreme Court and half of Congress were women, we would see a lot more policies for expanding education and health care and social services that allow communities to thrive,” O’Neill explained. “We’d see a lot less spending on military weapons systems, and we would also see a lot less of the most powerful, moneyed people not paying their fair share.”

While O’Neill said Obama’s inner circle needs more gender diversity, she praised the president for nominating women and minorities to other posts, joking that Obama doesn’t “need binders” to pick top females. (RELATED VIDEO — CNN’s Jessica Yellin: Mitt Romney’s ‘binders’ comment made women sound like mail-order products)

The NOW president hesitated to name names, but when pressed, O’Neill floated Sheila Bair, former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as a possible replacement for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

O’Neill also praised the president for standing up for embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who has taken heat for incorrectly telling Americans after the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya that intelligence indicated a disorganized mob caused the incident.

“I so admire the president for standing up for Ambassador Rice,” O’Neill said. ”I think that the attacks on her are purely political, and frankly I think the attacks on her go like this: Let’s bump Susan Rice out of the way, then John Kerry will be appointed, then we the Republicans will be able to get Scott Brown in the Senate.”

“I think that every single attack on Susan Rice, I think that’s exactly what it is.” (RELATED VIDEO — Charles Krauthammer: Obama’s defense of Rice was an embarrassing attempt at chivalry)

O’Neill said the women’s movement is making its hopes known to the administration — often at coalition meetings that she said are occasionally attended by White House staff.

“I’m happy with where the president has gone; I’m positive that he’s going to have a lot of women in his cabinet,” O’Neill added. “Clearly, it should be 50 percent.”

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