One can argue both ways. For example, it could be either encouraging or offensive that a news story entitled, “No. 2 At Justice Warns Growing Prison Budget Detracts From Public Safety,” should end focusing on the number of women in the room during a staff meeting. On one hand, bringing it to the attention of the world that America’s current Justice Department is led by women and that there are more women “in the room” overall is a huge step. Even Yates herself admitted that she didn’t even notice the gender numbers. In fact, Yates shares that “Maybe, actually, that is the strongest statement of all, is that it’s just not as a big a deal today as it was when Janet Reno and Jamie Gorelick were running the department.”
However, the reason this article caught my ear was the fact that this gender disparity issue came at the end of a story regarding the federal prison budget. Why is the gender of those discussing this topic even an issue? One could also make speculations regarding the fact that the gender difference in the meeting was brought to Yates’ attention by her male staffer. Yates said, “I was in a meeting and one of my staffers, at the end of it said, ‘do you realize I was the only man in the meeting?’” My question is, had the tables been turned, would this news story have concluded with a male leader commenting on the gender disparity brought to their attention by a lone female staffer in a meeting? Both this news story and Yates’ remarks paint this incident as a positive move in gender equality.
And it is. The discouraging fact of the matter though is that the societal norm does not maintain women in the majority or even equally in many areas of leadership in this country. We are making progress. It is empowering to see that the Department of Justice has brought justice into its own home. Now let’s tackle the rest of the country and the world!
Read the article: No. 2 At Justice Warns Growing Prison Budget Detracts From Public Safety