Former White House aid explains why women should ‘rule the world’

Former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers spoke about women in power at an event in the Alumni Memorial Union last Thursday evening.

Women should rule the world — that is, according to Dee Dee Myers.

Myers, White House press secretary to former President Bill Clinton from 1993-’94, talked to a packed ballroom at the Alumni Memorial Union Thursday night about her political life experiences and her book, “Why Women Should Rule the World.”

Women in more positions of power can make a difference in helping people work together to make better decisions, she said. But this was not meant to demean male leadership.

“This isn’t an argument against men,” Myers said. “It’s not about politics. It’s about making our culture more representative, because there are facts that say more women in more positions of power can make a difference.”

Her talk included anecdotes from her time working on a string of losing campaigns at the state and presidential levels. Experiences gained from these losses helped her form her outlook today.

When Clinton first hired her in 1993, Myers felt more representation of women in government, courtrooms and boardrooms would help resolve issues and bring about a better cooperative work ethic.

“Women bring a different perspective,” Myers said. “Things change for the better when women are making big decisions.”

Myers said initially, her book focused on how to achieve political compromises. But her research took her in a different direction when she found studies that suggested women in positions of power carry more benefits.

During her talk, Myers referenced reports that said businesses with more women on their executive boards enjoyed greater profits. Women in science also have better ways of reducing stress to come to better solutions, she said.

But Myers said women are still blocked from these positions by external and internal obstacles.

“There has long been a double standard in our culture,” Myers said. “Something as trivial as appearance can have consequences. A bad hair-day can become a virtual mute-button for women.”

Women also impose internal impediments on their own development, Myers said.

“Women need to take more risks,” Myers said. “We have to develop better strategies to move forward. Women don’t snap at opportunities like they should.”

Kristen Sippel, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, raised the funds to bring Myers to campus after reading her book.

“I was inspired by her story and thought how great it would be to meet this amazing woman,” Sippel said in an e-mail. “It took a lot of work, but she was definitely the perfect speaker for the Centennial Celebration of Women (at Marquette).”

Myers received a few rousing standing ovations for her remarks, but some thought her argument could have been better.

Molly Giese, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she went to the speech because she was interested to see how Myers could justify the claims made in her book.

“I think she has some great ideas for getting women into power,” Giese said in an e-mail. “But some of her evidence lacks substance.”