Visions of America Since 1945 – 2014
Analyze Attacking the ‘Old Boy Network’, but only one of the articles from the 1970′s.
To successfully complete this essay, you will need to answer the following questions:
•Explain the cultural relevance of the article. Who funded this magazine? What are their political biases?
•What is the main point of the article? What is the writer’s message to his/ her readers?
•Did the magazine make an impact on popular culture?
Your thesis for the essay should attempt to answer this question:
•Explain the cultural relevance of the article. How did this particular magazine article reflect and/ or attempt to manipulate the cultural values of its audience? How
can you prove this?
Title: Attacking the ‘Old Boy Network’. Time, 0040781X, 3/28/1977,
Vol. 109, Issue 13.Database: Academic Search Complete.
Attacking the ‘Old Boy Network’
Select: American Accent Australian Accent British Accent
The disappointment, perhaps, was inevitable. During the campaign, Jimmy Carter had hotly wooed the female vote by vowing “to bring far more women” into top levels of
Government. But how many were enough to satisfy the passions such a promise aroused? Last week, as his second month in office ended, women were assessing Carter’s
performance and deciding that it fell well short of his declarations. Says Karen DeCrow, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW): “Women’s rights are
simply not a high priority of this Administration.”
In its defense, the White House argues that it has given more good jobs to women than any previous Administration. No other President had more than one woman Cabinet
member; now there are two—Commerce’s Juanita M. Kreps and HUD’s Patricia Roberts Harris. Carter has named two women as Under Secretaries (compared with Ford’s one), 15
as Assistant Secretaries or officials of equivalent rank (four for Ford). In the Executive Office of the President, there are five female officials at “level 4 or
over,” a bureaucratic classification denoting jobs paying at least $50,000. Ford’s White House had two.
All Men. But Carter’s boast that he has tripled the number of women in top posts is shrugged off by Jane McMichael, executive director of the National Women’s
Political Caucus. Says she: “Three times nothing is still nothing.” Women hold only 18% of the policymaking jobs in the Carter Administration—29 out of 154 posts—and
that percentage is substantially affected by the Commerce Department, where Secretary Kreps has selected women for five of the 14 top-ranking jobs. Elsewhere, the
record is much worse. HUD’s Harris has included two women among the nine people she has selected so far. At Defense, women hold two of the 16 filled positions, and
Interior is in the process of naming its first female.
When she was sworn in as Commerce Secretary, Kreps tartly informed the President in front of TV cameras that there were plenty of talented women and “we have to do a
better job of looking.” Carolyn Shaw Bell, an economics professor at Wellesley College and campaign adviser to Carter, charges that the Administration’s proclaimed
program to find qualified women is nonexistent. Says she: “Carter has a staff recruiting people, and they are all men. What you find to recruit all depends upon who is
doing the looking.”
Carter’s critics claim that his male recruiters—consciously or unconsciously—exercise a familiar double standard when they consider women: to be hired, a female
candidate has to be much more qualified than a male. Carter’s aides argued against giving a job to Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan because she had no administrative
experience. But the talent hunters were willing to overlook similar gaps in the backgrounds of some men who were tapped. Although he was a top staff man for Lyndon
Johnson, HEW Secretary Joseph Califano had never managed anything but his desk before becoming the boss of 145,700 people in his current post.
Another handicap for many women seeking jobs with the Administration is that, unlike males, they simply do not know how to go about playing the game of getting the
attention of someone like Chief Aide Hamilton Jordan. Too many women, says M.I.T. Economist Phyllis Wallace, naively believe that good professional endorsements and
straightforward resumes of accomplishments are enough to get them hired. Says Wallace: “Maybe women need some classes in politicking. Some just allow themselves to be
turned off by the idea of wheeling and dealing for positions.”
Female candidates also point out that by definition they lack the help of what they scornfully call “the old boy network.” Maryland Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski
gives the woman’s-eye view of how the network operates: “Pete Preppy looks through his yearbook, calls up Mike Macho, and says, ‘Got anyone good for State?’ ‘Sure,’
answers Mike. ‘Try Tom Terrifico.’ ”
In the case of Carter and a White House dominated by fellow Georgians, the women feel they suffer under another handicap: not only are they not old boys, they are not
“good ole boys.” Both Jordan and Press Secretary Jody Powell, Carter’s two closest aides, are considered—by many men as well as women—to be old-fashioned male
chauvinists. Says one woman who landed a job in the Administration: “Their mindset is that women are not and cannot be like men. They can’t use four-letter words, or
slap each other on the back, or share inside jokes. And then that reverse Southern gentility allows only discretion and propriety with women. Women are supposed to
appreciate but not understand men’s work.”
Not Serious. One candidate for a job with Carter is Roxanne Conlin, the former assistant attorney general of Iowa and now a consultant on women’s affairs. She is
convinced that the President is dedicated to hiring more women but says that the commitment of his aides “may not be as serious.” Being interviewed by the
Administration’s recruiters, she says, is “like running the gauntlet.”
Says Ms. Editor Gloria Steinem: “Carter and the people around him —through no fault of their own—have never worked for or with women of the intelligence or strength of
some of the candidates for select positions. They didn’t know what to do with them.”
Carter’s male aides deny that they treated female job candidates unfairly —Jordan is constantly urging Cabinet officers to hire women—but they admit they have not done
as well as they had hoped. Female White House staffers are blunter on the subject. Says one who was with Carter during the campaign: “Hell, yes, I understand what the
women are complaining about.” She herself did not get a job until long after her male peers had landed positions.
To convey their disappointment, 40 women’s organizations banded together to form what they call the “women’s coalition,” and sent some 50 representatives to talk to
Carter. They met with Vice President Walter Mondale for half an hour, and then the President came in for ten minutes. Although he impressed some of his guests with his
concern, he left others fuming at his short visit. “An insult,” says DeCrow. “The very brevity is symptomatic of the problem.” Still, the visitors did get another
promise from Jimmy: “I have not forgotten for a single hour the needs of women in our society.” Feminine activists are not likely to let him forget.