The Washington Monthly, which used to be such an interesting liberal magazine, has a whiny and predictable piece entitled “Where Are the Women Wonks?”
As might be expected the author, Anne Kim, managing director for policy and strategy at the Progressive Policy Institute, is particularly nasty to conservative-leaning think tanks, which do not, in her opinion, hire enough female scholars:
The worst offenders, not surprisingly, are the right-wing think tanks, many of whose staff rosters look like the membership of Augusta National. The Heritage Foundation, for example, has fifteen (almost identical) white men on their “senior management” page and only two women, neither of whom hold policy positions. At the American Enterprise Institute, just eight of the sixty resident scholars are women, as is only one of the institution’s top five officials.
This is the kind of frontal assault that often leaves conservatives hemming and hawing and trying to mollify their attackers.
So I want to take my hat off to Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute for having none of it. Her response is worth reading in full, but here is my favorite part:
We care about the work people do, the quality of the product, the difference we can make in Washington and for the nation. We don’t set aside seats for women any more than we set aside seats for women in our Congress.
Why are some people so obsessed with counting up their seats? What do they think they’re missing? Would they rather be women in Rwanda, the Seychelles, Angola, or Belarus — all cited by our PPI accuser as having more women in government than the rotten old U.S. of A? Are we going to be better served by more women economists?
More chicks in foreign policy? More high heels pondering the education mess? Tell me, what are you looking for here except more entitlements, more special treatment, more set asides, more demeaning quotas?
Who wants to be hired because they’re a woman? I’ll tell you: A woman who knows she isn’t the best for the job and is looking for preferential treatment. You want to work here at AEI? Great. Send me your awesome resume, show me your platinum degrees, hand over your testimony, your writing, and your collection of super op-eds. Oh, don’t have that? Then sit down, and shut up.
FYI: It is interesting that at the Progressive Policy Institute, where Ms. Kim works, all senior fellows are male (or have names indicating as much), three out of seven members of the staff are female, and the list of eighty-three contributors is overwhelmingly male.