More and more women are sitting at the nuclear negotiating table
Rose Gottemoeller, a US diplomat negotiating a new nuclear treaty with Moscow, is used to answering difficult questions on missile defence, warheads, inspections and so forth. She wasn't, however, expecting this one from the Russians: "How come you've got so many women?"
To the astonishment of the Russian generals sitting across the table from Gottemoeller, there was an array of American women – Gottemoeller herself, her deputy Marcie Ries, two top US female scientists and Ellen Tauscher a state department undersecretary and former congresswoman.
The nuclear experts are indicative of an expanding cast of top female national security officials, the Washington Post has found.
Women occupy between 21 and 29 percent of the senior positions at the State Department, USAID, the Pentagon and other national security and foreign policy agencies, according to a recent survey by Women in International Security. It found that about 13 percent of the Senior Intelligence Service is also female.
Current and former officials say the increase is not just due to the Obama administration. Gradually, the women who began taking national security jobs in the military, the diplomatic service, think tanks and other institutions in the 1970s and 1980s are rising to the top.
Not before time, some might say. Let's hope they soon negotiate themselves out of a job.
Thanks to Emine Dilek for this story.