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Feminist News


February-10-09

Obama Gender Balances First Presidential Press Conference

President Barack Obama's questioning of reporters in his first prime-time press conference as President was close to being perfectly gender balanced. Women reporters asked a total of six questions and men asked a total of seven questions. Obama's first and last questions were from women reporters.

"At last, at a presidential news conference, women reporters are both seen and heard nearly equally," said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. "In a news world where women are nowhere near equal in bylines or appearances, this is a step forward."

Among his many firsts, the President called on Helen Thomas, who has been part of the White House Press Corps since 1961 and has now asked questions of 10 United States presidents. Thomas is also known for her militant opposition to the War in Iraq and to President Bush. Also of note, Obama is the first president to call on a blogger, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post.

In his first press conference as President-Elect, President Obama answered four questions from women and five from men.

Media Resources: CNN 2/9/09; Chicago Sun Times 11/7/08; NNDB; Interview with Eleanor Smeal 2/10/09