Q: This is Jean Rainey interviewing Barbara Franklin on October 23rd in her apartment at the Watergate in Washington, D.C.
So, Barbara, my first question for you is you entered the business world right after graduating and earning your MBA from Harvard in 1994. How many women were-
A: Wait a minute. '64.
Q: 1964. Sorry. Misread my cue sheet here.
Q: How many women were in your class at Harvard at that time?
A: Well, we think 12. I was thinking it was 14, but my 35th reunion is coming up and I just got a notice that says 12.
Anyway, it was in that range. There were 620 men. So there were very few women.
Q: How long had Harvard been admitting women?
A: It had just started. We were one of the first classes to have women enter the second-year MBA program. Before that there was the "Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration." When the business school was not open to women, Radcliffe put together this program using Business School professors, but on the Cambridge side of the river. It used basically the same first-year material. We were in the last class of that program and had to take the GMATS, the graduate school tests, to get into the second year. There may have been 50 women in that first year at Radcliffe, and only - whatever the number is - 12 of us went on.
When I went to Harvard, having gotten a scholarship and a loan, I had made the commitment for two years. That occurred because the dean of women at Penn State, where I had been, called me in one day and said she had the opportunity to put one student's name forward for a full scholarship to Harvard Business School because they were opening their doors to women. She wanted to nominate me. I said okay, really not knowing much about what Harvard Business School was. But at least I had heard of Harvard.
She did a wonderful job of documenting everything that I had done at Penn State, where I was involved in all sorts of activities and had gotten good grades. I didn't get the full scholarship, but I got something else, a mixture of a loan and a scholarship, and that was the impetus for me to go to Harvard.
But I had committed to the two years up front, and so it was just a foregone conclusion that I was going to do that.
The other distinction to be made is that most of the men had been out working before they went back to school. The women, however, were mostly right out of undergraduate school, which made the competitive situation even tougher for us, because the men were a little bit older and a little more experienced. We all survived, however, but it was not easy. As I look back on it now, it was very much harder in hindsight than it seemed. But as with any of these pioneering experiences, you just do what you have to do and get through it.
Q: Wonderful experience. During those years, before you came to Washington, did you have any occasion to become aware of the problems faced by women in government; that is, during those years you were with Singer and with Citibank?
A: Not really, not in government. I hadn't thought about it much. In business, I understood it. I was the first woman MBA the Singer Company hired, and they were a little nervous about that. I also know that the salaries being offered to us women in the class of '64 were less by a rather hefty amount than those being offered to the men. Singer wasn't the highest offer I had, actually, but I thought the job was more interesting. There were some of the usual institutional obstacles - some men who really didn't know how to deal with a woman or how she should be treated.
The man who hired me was an MBA from Dartmouth, and he thought it was a nifty idea to have a woman MBA there. After all, that division of Singer was in the consumer goods business. He thought that it made a lot of sense to have a woman's viewpoint and in a way it did. However, I must confess that I never did learn to sew very well.
I progressed from the Consumer Products Division to the corporate staff, where I created a new function to look at competitive trends and analyze competition all around the world in the sewing machine business, both household and industrial. That's where I first ran into the Japanese way of doing business Keiretsu - without understanding what it was. Japanese companies took 60 percent of the U.S. market, mostly from Singer, before anybody figured out what was going on. It was just like this: They entered the market through private brands, Sears mainly. The Japanese strategy then was "targeting," identifying various markets for export, and then implementing the strategy.
Singer was asleep. So I learned quite a lot, creating this new function, called Environmental Analysis a different use of the word "environment" than we think of today - and became part of this new Corporate Planning Staff. It was after being at Singer for 4 years that I was recruited to Citibank to join a new Corporate Planning Staff.
Q: And what were your experiences there?
A: I would say very similar. There were some men who just didn't take women seriously. I remember being chastised mightily for wearing a red dress. I liked red. I've always liked red but was told not to wear bright colors. There was one other time when I knew I didn't get as much of a salary increase as the guy who worked beside me. I raised that issue and was told, "You don't need that salary increase. You're doing fine, for a girl, and, besides, you have a husband who works." There was that sort of thinking then at the bank. But, thankfully, not everybody. The man who hired me into that job was not one of those Neanderthals.
But in any organization there is an unevenness in terms of attitudes of men about how acceptable women are going to be in certain jobs and whether they would risk putting women in those jobs. "She might leave and get married," or, "She might have a baby," they would say. All of those attitudes were in the mix.
I was also thought to be aggressive. I don't think of myself as being aggressive, but back then I was thought by some to be an aggressive woman in a red dress. Banking was very genteel, and there was no consensus about what a woman MBA in business ought to look like, act like, perform like. So in some ways I created a confusion for them - a petite woman with long blonde hair in a red dress. I think some of this sort of confusion is still around today.
Q: And you were also, at Citibank, brought into a government relations function, were you not?
A: Yes, I created the first government relations department. I have created functions all along, it seems, one at Singer, this one at Citibank and then the White House. What occurred in 1970 was that bank holding-company legislation surprised us. It closed a loophole. Banks were forming bank holding companies so that they could plug services other than banking into the holding company and thereby outwit the regulations that were imposed on banks. Anyway, this bank holding - company legislation - Wright Patman was the spearhead- passed the House. The banking industry was caught off guard. They shouldn't have been because we know that legislation does not fall out of the sky. There is a gestation period.
Perhaps I was just the one who was sitting there that day, because our corporate planning group also functioned as Walter Wriston's staff (he was then the CEO). "Well," he said, in his slow manner of speaking, "we don't want this to ever happen again. He looked at me and said, "I want you to figure out how we don't get surprised."
Thereupon, I did a management-consultant-type study of the bank's relationships with government at all levels. What came out of that was the need for some kind of early-warning system, and it was decided to create a government relations department. The bank did not have this and didn't have a Washington office either. They did have a lobbyist in Washington, but that was all.
So I was asked to create a government relations department in New York and set up a mechanism to track legislation at the federal and state levels and to work with the lobbyist. Out of this came a Washington office later. So I had created that function and was the first head of the new department, when I was recruited to go to the Nixon White House.
Q: Can you tell me more about how you happened to be recruited to the Nixon White House? Are you aware of what brought you to the attention of the people?
A: I am not entirely sure of this, and I have never asked the question, "How did you find me?" What I do think - if I can speculate a little is this: I had gotten active in Republican politics in New York, through the Women's National Republican Club. Rockefeller was Governor, and there was at least one campaign of his that I was volunteered in in the '60s. I had also volunteered in the '68 Nixon campaign, which was headquartered at the Pierre Hotel in New York. So I had some Republican credentials.
I also knew Shelley Scarney - Buchanan, now - she married Pat in 1971. I had known Shelley in New York from another activity, and she was then one of Richard Nixon's assistants. So, she had known I had volunteered in the '68 campaign.
Later, when the White House began to be concerned about women, I was contacted by Dick Ferry, who later formed with a partner the recruiting firm of Korn Ferry. He and others were looking for women for Federal appointments, and got connected with me when I was at Citibank. I helped them identify some women.
Now, I imagine that one of the key people at the root of this was Fred Malek, who was heading Presidential Personnel. He was in my class at Harvard Business School. I didn't know him well, but my guess is he knew me. The men generally recognized the women because there were so few of us. My guess is that all of this came together.
They came to see me and I began to help. That's how the connection with the White House recruiting operation began. It was actually another recruiter, John Clark, who I believe has passed away, who called and said, "You've got to come and do this job." He set me up to talk with Fred Malek, and I agreed to do the job. This was probably February of 1971.
Q: This project has been looking at this whole period from '69 to '74 in advancing the cause of women in government, and we've learned about Vera Glaser's question of the President
Q: -- at a news conference and her subsequent meeting with Arthur Burns, and then the appointment of the Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities, and a recommendation of that task force was the appointment of a woman in a high-level position in the White House. You've recently been looking at your papers. Can you kind of take us through what happened between the recommendation of the task force and your appointment?
A: Yes, we've been trying to piece this together, and it's an interesting process. The other element that was in the task force report, besides this high-level woman in the White House, was the recommendation for the appointment of more women all through government. Those two things were pulled together with the emphasis on appointments. In my papers, it appears that the task force report came in at the end of '69, and then it looks as though there was a bit of a limbo with not much happening. Then, in the fall of 1970, we began to see some memoranda. Chuck Colson had a hand in this and a man named George Bell in his office. But I think Bob Finch was the real pusher. He asked Helen Bentley, who had apparently been talking about the need to appoint more women to write a memo for the President, and she did. It's a very detailed memo suggesting many things, including the need for a talent bank for women. Then Bob Finch wrote a memo, dated December 4, 1970, which I consider to be a very important one. This went to the President and laid out the concerns that women have and the case for the Administration to do something about it. Finch talked about "problem indicators," that women have been counting appointments to Administration posts and that the best women are watching. Then he identified some action areas, and put forth an "approve-disapprove" template for the President. I believe these are RN's comments on this approve-disapprove sheet, which was in my papers. It's something we need to check. But this is where it became crystal clear that someone in the Administration at a high level needed to be responsible, that the appointments process for women had to be beefed up, that there should be a directive to all departments and agencies asking them to establish plans to appoint and upgrade women and to make a department official responsible. There was a point made here about the Equal Rights Amendment, too. It was a lengthy memo, but I think this is really what pushed the effort to advance women off the dime.
And then after that, there's a sequence of memos I have found, progress reports, to Bob Finch and Don Rumsfeld. Both men were Counselors to the President and were tasked by the President, in the December memo, with responsibility for overseeing this effort. Most of these memos were coming from Malek. There is one dated March 31, 1971 noting progress. By then I had been hired, but I wasn't yet on board, and this was noted in the progress column. Some appointments were also noted. Jayne Spain was being appointed as a Commissioner and Vice Chairman of the Civil Service Commission. She wasn't there yet either. There was also a PR plan. Then the memorandum - I'm still not quite clear on what the date was, but I think it was after I got there. This memorandum went to all the departments and agencies asking for the Action Plans. I think that was sometime in April.
So, in effect, the thrust that leaps out of Finch's memo of December, 1970, is the three-part thrust to advance women. I used to talk about this: (1) that I was brought in to recruit women at the Presidential appointee level, (2) Jayne Spain was put at Civil Service position to watch over the advancement of women in the Career Service, and, of course, (3) the linchpin was that the President asked every department head and agency head for Action Plans indicating how they were going to appoint, promote and train women, for a key official to be in charge. Those Action Plans came to my office to be monitored. The point was that there was a real managerial effort from the White House in place to advance women. There were reviews of those plans. I found a memo over the weekend in my papers over Malek's signature to George Romney, Secretary of HUD, but, obviously, one I had written, saying, "We haven't gotten your plan about women. Where is it? We're afraid you're not going to be able to meet your commitments."
Well, my other recollection is that when a department did a good thing, appointed a woman or achieved what it promised there were targets set in these plans - that the Secretary would get a nice memo from the President saying, "Good for you." (I wrote those, too.) So, to go back to where we started, this was a typical management-by-objectives, Harvard-Business-School-type approach to getting something done. And it worked.
Q: Your title was Staff Assistant to the President. What was your official job description?
A: My original title was Staff Assistant to the President for Executive Manpower. I'm not sure who dreamed that one up, but it got changed very quickly, after my first press conference. About two weeks after I arrived, there was a press conference put together by DeVan Shumway, who was in Herb Klein's communication shop. The event was presided over by Margita White, and was held in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Only women of the press were invited. Now, this whole setup was bad. The women of the press were angry. They grumbled, "Why wasn't this held in the White House Briefing Room like everything else? You're treating us differently." And they were kind of mad at the President in general. So the first question was, "You're recruiting women. How can you have a 'manpower' title?" This is a good question with no good answer. I must admit that I was too inexperienced at the time to understand how insensitive that title was. But the man (or men) who dreamed it up did not understand either.
We had quite a session in the Roosevelt Room. It probably should have ended a little earlier than it did, and Margita was supposed to close it off. Margita didn't do it. We found out afterwards that she was afraid she would be ill because she was pregnant with her son, but didn't yet know it. Anyway, we got through this, the press reports that came out of it were okay or even a little better than that. This effort showed that something was happening, even though the reporters took me apart - or at least that's how it felt. Vera Glaser was there, Helen Thomas, who, of course, still covers the White House, Fran Lewine for AP and a host of others. Anyway, after that, my title was changed.
We dropped the "executive manpower." This shows something about the times and the insensitivity, at the same time that the Administration was really trying to advance women.
Q: We've talked about that as an example of the sink-or-swim environment you were in.
A: Yes, it was.
Q: Then another problem was no staff.
A: No, staff, and there I was again creating a function.
I came upon another memo in my papers in which I went into the management aspect of this role-- about two months after I'd gotten there. I went into how my time was being spent: what I was being expected to do to manage this effort, recruit women, get PR plans done, relate to women's groups, and dig into other issues as I was asked. I pointed out that I was a one-man, or one-woman, band. This memo asked for more staff, which I got. But as I look back on this, I am astonished. There was no structure there, not even a secretary. I brought a secretary from Citibank on loan just to help me sort the mail. We were getting volumes of that. As I recall, I went to Fred Malek and said, "We're getting all these letters and resumes. What are we going to do? I feel that they should be answered." Fred's response was, "Oh, forget it." I did not agree because I did not think we could go public and say, "We're looking for women," be outreaching, and then not answer the mail.
So we set up a deal with White House Correspondence. I do remember that Mike Smith, who later became Deputy USTR, was a foreign service officer in charge of White House Correspondence. Back then it was customary for a foreign service officer to be in charge of correspondence. I'm not sure why. So we set up a system and devised form letters of different types, depending on what came in, and the mail got answered. I really did insist on that, and some of it I did personally. I used to work all the time, all hours. But I did get staff. I got one assistant. We got a secretary. We had a little trouble getting the right secretary, I must say, but, in due course finally got a good one -- Sharon Shay. I also found a professional to do the communication and event planning that we were expected to do. That was Judy Kauffman, who had been at BPW and who has since passed away, which is too bad.
The assistant I hired was Judy Cole, who now is a lawyer at the Federal Trade Commission.
So it was a small, hardy band, and there were also some volunteers who helped us on occasion.
Q: Helen Bentley loaned you someone.
A: Well, initially, when I had no secretary, I was at wit's end. There was no one even to answer the phone, and we needed to start getting out some letters and memos. Helen loaned me this dinosaur-like but that's what they were then-- dictating machine. It took the space of an entire small table, and I would dictate, and she would get her staff to produce it. Yes, Helen was very supportive and very helpful, as were the other women, for example, Catherine Bedell and Virginia Knauer. People were very, very supportive; but, I felt that I was out there on my own. I had forgotten about these management and resource struggles until I came upon this memo that spelled them out.
One of the problems with a position like this is that once somebody creates it and appoints someone to it, then the heat is off for everybody else. I didn't want that to happen, and I think it would be fair to say that Bob Finch didn't want this to happen either. We wanted to have a team with everybody working on this women's effort, where I was on the point, but wasn't trying to do it all. In order to place women in jobs, I was first building a talent bank. I divided the country into 10 regions, and was out finding women and building support, but I had to depend on the others - all men in the personnel shop. White House Personnel had a recruiting side and a placement side. The men on the placement side were the ones that I had to rely on to actually place the women I had recruited. There were three or four of those people, and they had divided the government up so each one had responsibility to place and clear political appointees in say a dozen departments and agencies. So we had to get together and decide initially how we were going to work together, and we did. They were very cooperative, and helpful, and Malek was good, too.
These guys got mad at me every so often. One, Stan Anderson, was forever hanging up on me when I called him on the intercom. Then I'd go down to his office and say, "Oh, Stan, you didn't mean to do that." He'd say, "Stop bugging me with this women stuff," but in the end Stan delivered. I appreciated this, and he and I are friends today.
And then, of course, these Departmental Action Plans showed positions that were coming open or were going to be targeted for women. So we had a plan that had --
Q: Let's just back up and describe what an "Action Plan" was here.
A: Yes, and I dug one out of my papers -- the one from the State Department. These plans were not the greatest because no one had ever done this before. What they were supposed to do was to outline how that department was going to approach appointing more women -- political appointees and then what it was going to do in the middle-management ranks, the career positions. At the State Department, for example, there had to be some policy changes about women in the foreign service and what they could and could not do as well as for wives of male foreign service officers. These policies were updated in a positive way for women because of this effort. There had to be a departmental official - a point person responsible for monitoring how the department was doing and reporting back to the White House. That's what was in the plans.
It took us a couple of iterations with most departments to get the plans to make sense, but once we had them, my office monitored progress. So out of the plans -- and out of what we knew -- there were some jobs that we had targeted for women and were committed to trying to find women to fill. In the case of regulatory commissions, which are presidential appointments, you can see when a commissioner's term is up because each one serves for a fixed term of years. That was a very good targeting opportunity. I could see what was coming available, and go to the personnel apparatus and -- meaning Fred and the placement guys and say, ''Okay. If we can find women for this, this and this. That's what we ought to do." I would try to get a commitment up front.
Q: So the process was the vacancy was identified first
Q: -- and then you either found or matched a person that you had in your bank to the vacancy --
A: Yes, more or less.
Q: -- and then had to persuade them to accept it -
Q: -- which was another piece of this.
A: Which was another piece, but all this was going on simultaneously, I, or others, were identifying slots, and I was building a talent bank. BPW was very helpful, because they already had a talent bank. We generated names for that talent bank. The talent bank is probably at the National Archives with the Nixon Presidential Papers because I don't have it and it doesn't seem to be in my papers at Penn State.
So it was a process of trying to match up vacancies with people who would fit. But it also required a pretty good nose to know when a position was coming available, to anticipate it and get there first to target a job and hope to get a commitment for a woman. Otherwise, somebody else in the political process got in and would get there first with another candidate, usually a man.
I got very adept, because I had to be, at nosing out what was happening and who was doing what. That meant talking to a lot of people in the White House and around the government. I talked with a lot of people just so I knew what was going on. Then there were people on Capitol Hill, too, who were helpful in this effort. Hugh Scott, who was Minority Leader in the U.S. Senate, was one. I went to see Bella Abzug (D-NY) when she was in the House. We were doing outreach to everyone, and not just to Republicans, but it just took a lot of --what's the right word for this? a lot of antennae -- anticipating what was going to happen.
Q: And you also had to be aware of what political chips were --
Q: Had to be cashed.
A: That's right, and
Q: Or not to be cashed.
A: Or not. Sometimes we won and sometimes we lost, but the record would show that we won more than we lost. There were other times when we just waited them out. One example: I had recruited Dr. Dixie Lee Ray. She was on a list that Charlie Clapp had given me, and we were looking for a commissioner for the Atomic Energy Commission. That position was targeted because there had never been a woman there. I went after Dixie Lee Ray. I remember catching her in an airport on the phone and saying that the President was interested in appointing a woman to this job, and "Would you be interested?" She didn't believe me. She didn't believe that the President really was interested in doing that. I said, ''Oh, yes. He really is.''
Anyway, to make a long story short, she came in to see us and was appointed. What a marvelous character she was, and this is an illustration of an interesting point. She was a marine biologist, I believe, by background with quite a following in her field and in her state, but otherwise, quite unconventional. You know, she wore blazers and knee socks, had dogs and lived in a trailer when she was in Washington. She was very much her own person.
Jim Schlesinger had been Chairman of the AEC, and he was about to move on in 1972, and we had an idea. I think it was my idea - it came right out of a memo that I found when going through my papers.
Q: We're resuming after a short battery problem-- and let's continue with the Jim Schlesinger story.
A: Well, what I was going to say was this: Dixie Lee Ray was already on that commission. Jim Schlesinger was very much against her being made chairman, but he was on his way out, and so, frankly, we just waited until he got out, and then we went through the drill and she became chairman.
A: Outwitting the system.
Q: I had a question about what problems you encountered and how you overcame them, and -
A: Well, this is one example. But, it took working with the placement people. Whoever had the AEC went along with the idea.
On my part, it took quite a bit of following up and bird-dogging, in a nice way, so that these guys wouldn't get annoyed, while at the same time, I was working on the outside to build the talent bank, relate to women's groups and make speeches. However, the inside work was really crucial to getting women placed.
Q: I want to come back to the Departmental Action Plans and what made them different from other ways of going about encouraging more appointments of women; that is, this was not a quota system. It was -
A: No, not -
Q: - voluntary on the part of departments -
A: Well, voluntary, except that the President asked for it, and we used the word, "target."
This had never been done before this way with regard to advancing women. But it was not unlike other presidential directives. There had never been an apparatus in the White House that was monitoring whether departments and agencies were placing women and keeping track of who did well and who didn't. That was a first.
Q: Now, did the Action Plan apply both to the political appointments and to
A: Yes, and the
Q: - and to the career service?
A: There was an aspect of this program that got into what I would call the bureaucracy, yes. Middle management was clearly part of this.
Q: How about the Departmental Action Plans and the middle- management piece of it?
A: I'm now looking at the Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, signed by the President. It says after some verbiage about the need to have more women in government and draw on this national resource: "To this end, I am now directing that you take the following action: Develop and put into action a plan for attracting more qualified women to top appointive positions -- we were defining that as GS-16 up through Presidential Appointments - in your department or agency by the end of this calendar year. This plan should be submitted to me by May 15"·."
Then, "Develop and put into action by May 15" the plan for significantly increasing the number of women career and appointive in mid-level positions, defined as GS-13 to -15. This plan should directly involve your top personnel official."
Then, "Ensure that substantial numbers of the vacancies on your advisory boards and committees are filled with well- qualified women and designate an overall coordinator who will be held responsible for the success of this project. Please provide this name to me by May 15"·."
And then, "I've asked my Special Assistant, Fred Malek, to meet with you individually to," talk about the rest of the requirements.
This is quite a specific directive from the President. This was not a one-paragraph that said, "Develop Action Plans." This was quite specific.
I think that this is what really gave the effort teeth, and the fact that it was pushed down into the mid levels really unleashed the bureaucratic apparatus of every department to advance women. Real gains are made that stick. After a President and his Administration leaves, the bureaucracy still adheres to a program like this. This, to me, is where significant progress was made. That's why we had the first women generals, admirals, FBI agents, sky marshals, forest rangers, tugboat captains - jobs women had never held before. This Presidential Directive is the root of it.
Q: So that has an impact that goes well beyond the Federal Government level, because it -
Q: because it reaches into, in effect, all walks of life and builds expectations by women that they can accomplish and understanding by men that they can do a job.
A: That's right. I think that view permeated the government, but I think it rippled out through society. At this particular time, we had a lot of noise being made by the women's movement. It was considered a left-wing women's movement-- you remember the bra burning. This President, by putting this effort into place made equality for women legitimate. He pulled it right into society's mainstream. Equality was something that this country should aspire to.
Back to the Action Plans, here is a memo from Malek to Bill Rogers, Secretary of State. I wrote this one, too. It's to follow up and provide further guidelines on "the steps you intend to take in developing these Action Plans that the President requested."
So follow-up was almost immediate, and here, attached to the plan, is a sheet that shows targets for placement of women in full-time positions, GS-16 and above. This was the highest level.
It shows here that State had a target of three, but it showed every other department's targets also. So we have total targets, between May and December, 1971, of 39. It shows that this is a very serious effort.
Q: So the Departmental Action Plan's Directive was issued just before you arrived -
A: I think so, or just after. I feel as though it may have come on the 28'" of April. My appointment came on the 22nd. In other words, the three parts of the effort were packaged.
Q: Part of that earlier approve-disapprove.
A: Yes. The memo that Bob Finch sent to the President. There was a meeting of women appointees with the President. I have a copy of it, of the President meeting with four women appointees who were "firsts,• on April 29. That's why I believe this memo to heads of departments and agencies went on the 28". This meeting occurred the next day, and Jayne Spain was also appointed on that day. The President had announced the appointment of four top women, Jayne Spain at Civil Service, Sally Ann Peyton and Vicki Keller, both of whom are joining the - (End Side A of tape.)
Q: Just changed the tape and I'd like Barbara to repeat the names of those four top appointments we were just discussing.
A: The President met with these women, and there's an Oval Office photo. The people in the photo are Jayne Spain, who had just been appointed to the Civil Service Commission, Commissioner and Vice Chairman; two women to the Domestic Council of the White House, Sally Ann Peyton, a lawyer, African American; and Vicki Keller; and then Dr. Valeria Raulinaitis, who was the first woman to be a director of a Veteran's Administration Hospital. That is a career position. I am also in this photograph, since I had just been appointed, also. But, as the staff person in the White House, was the orchestration of this photo opportunity. Fred Malek is there, too.
This was an event to herald the President's interest in appointing women.
Q: Can you quantify the results that were achieved -
Q: - from the beginning of the Nixon Administration to the time when you departed or -
A: Well, let me first quantify it from the spring, April-May, when this memo from the President went out, to the end of '71. My goal and that's in writing here, too, with my papers- was that we were to double the number of women in the high positions that's the GS-16 and up- in a year. Well, that number was doubled by the end of 1971 and it went from 36·to72.
Q: I have a memory of quadrupled something
A: Well, but by the time we got to a year, yes. I'm now reading from the April 28, 1972 fact sheet, "A goal was set to double the number of women already placed in policymaking positions from 36 to 72 by January 1, 1972. These jobs are at the GS-16 level and up, paying $28,000 and up -" v1hich was a lot then - not so much now. "The goal was met before the end of 1971. We have now placed 105 women in policymaking positions, which brings us closer to tripling the original number." I think that's the salient point. We went from 36 to 72 by the end of 1911, by 105 in April of 1972, the one-year mark, which is nearly tripling.
Q: Now, can you quantify progress below the GS-16 level?
Q: Do you have any numbers on that?
A: Quoting from the fact sheet: "And since April '71, more than 1,000 additional women have been promoted or recruited for these mid-level jobs, GS-13 and -15, and this is particularly significant, in viev1 of the five-percent reduction in federal employment during that time."
A: That's really the guts of this. That's what's made the advances for women more than just a sliver of change at the top.
And, then, the "firsts" were the other things that, to me, were very important about this. At the policymaking level, more than half the women appointees were placed in positions previously held only by men, so they were breakthroughs, which, meant that the next time, it's not so difficult to appoint a woman. People are willing to take the risk.
And two women were chairing regulatory agencies at the same time. That had never happened before. That would be Bentley at the Maritime Commission and Catherine Bedell at the U.S. Tariff Commission. The President nominated the first five women to the rank of general in the Armed Forces, a direct result of this effort, and the first admiral, too. I remember the admiral well.
I took her to lunch in the White House Mess, a big deal in those days.
There are a number of "firsts" at the mid-level, including the first women sky marshals, Secret Service agents, air-traffic controllers, narcotics agents and tugboat captains. This fact sheet goes on to talk about some other things that happened in concert with the appointments - Executive Orders that had to do with compliance reviews in higher education, about hiring policies having to do with women. Now, you see, that does mushroom this effort out from government to higher education. During this time, the Labor Department issued guidelines requiring firms doing business with the government to have Action Plans for hiring and promoting women. That, again, pushes this effort out of government and into business.
Then there was the Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, which the Administration supported, which gave the EEOC, a regulatory agency, enforcement powers through the courts, in cases of sex discrimination. This was new. Also, the President reaffirmed his endorsement of the Equal Rights Amendment, which, of course, as we know, was never got ratified. But Nixon was on record in support of it.
And the Administration proposed to the Congress that the jurisdiction of the Commission on Civil Rights be broadened to include sex-based discrimination. I'm not sure if that ever happened or not, but the Administration pushed it.
And then there's some wording here at the end of this fact sheet that I think is worthy of mention because it was the kind of theme that we were all conveying. I would have to say that I was the one who dreamed it up, but then the speech writers, the Ray Prices of the world, got involved in crafting the words. Ray was very wise and helpful. I often wanted to get words about women or about the appointment effort or some other issue into the President's speeches. I always went to Ray, who headed the speech-writing staff, and he would always manage to do it in just the right way, and just the way Nixon would have said it. There were others who were not quite so pleased. Pat Buchanan - much as I liked Pat personally - was just not someone who thought that this effort to advance women was so great and would tease me often about too many here or there. Dave Gergen, another speechwriter turned commentator later, was okay on this, too.
Anyway, to get to the quote: "In his 1972 State-of-the-Union Message, the President said, 'While every woman may not want a career outside the home, every woman should have the freedom to choose whatever career she wishes and an equal chance to pursue it.'" So we were using freedom-to-choose in a slightly different way than is true today. Back in that era there was a tension between those who were homemakers and those who were in the career arena, and, in fact, some of the verbiage coming out of the women's organizations on the left were making some women feel guilty for being homemakers. We were trying to bridge that and be in the middle of the issue, saying, "It's up to you to choose, but then you ought to have an equal chance to pursue your choice." It was right then and it's right today. But it was important then to say it and to have the President of the United States say it.
Q: I'm just reflecting that the appointments, particularly the first, put a lot of pressure on the women in those situations to perform very well, so that the choice of a woman -
A: That's right.
Q: - would not be seen - in retrospect - as a bad choice.
A: Yes, or that a woman has failed, which would set back the cause.
This was one of the problems that I ran into in recruiting. I still think it's an issue today, and that is that-
Q: We were interrupted by the phone. So we're starting again, and the problem that you ran into in recruiting was -
A: The fact that women were expected to be over-qualified to be considered qualified for a given job. When I say, "over- qualified," that would be more qualifications than a man would have had before people were willing to risk putting him into this job. This was a problem at the time. It was exacerbated by the fact that women at the time whether they were in government or outside were generally under-titled and underpaid and were doing more than they were recognized for. It was harder to sell the fact that a particular woman was very qualified, when some people would look at her background and say, "Well, no, she should have done this, this and this and should have had a better title." They wouldn't have laid the same expectation on a man. So the women who were appointed were really good. They had already over-achieved, and I suppose that's another reason why they didn't fail. But, on the other hand, it's an unfairness.
And one other thing that should be mentioned while we're talking about recruiting: there were women in the private sector - I'm particularly thinking of women in business - who might have wanted to come into government. I certainly talked with what seemed like handfuls of them. They were afraid to do it because of the risk involved. They didn't think that they could get back to the private sector without losing their place.
Q: And, sometimes, you encountered problems with married women
Q: - whose husbands really didn't want to leave their situation, and you then - on one occasion, at least, you recruited -
A: The husband to a job. The one you're talking about now is Cynthia Hall, whom I had recruited for the Tax Court in 1972. That meant, for a time at least, moving to Washington. She had a husband who was a very highly-acclaimed tax lawyer in a Los Angeles firm, and having him there and her here was presenting a dilemma.
He was a very enlightened fellow, John Hall, and was willing to go out of his way for her. So, I worked with the personnel liaison man whoever had the Treasury Department - I'd have to look that up - to have John be appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy (or whatever it was called then). He did this for a good 18 months, and the two of them were in Washington together, and then he went back to the law firm. She began to sit, as tax court judges do, around the country, and commuted back to Los Angeles. She had some astonishing stories, though, about just bald prejudice from her male colleagues at the court who gave her a hard time. She happened to be, and is, a very talented woman. She was clearly qualified, so they could not challenge her on that basis, but - oh, it was just other things, sending her to the most remote places to hear cases or wondering why she wasn't home with her children or her husband.
As far as I know, the placement of John Hall in that job was the first time we had ever done that to try to solve the dual-career issue. Now, of course, this is commonplace.
Q: You also played a role, according to some of your papers that I've seen, in encouraging the selection of the first woman to give the keynote at the Republican National Convention in 1972.
Q: Can you tell us about that?
A: I was still in the White House, but Fred Malek was over at the campaign -- CREEP, as it was affectionately known - and I was in the loop in terms of reviewing how the convention was being set up. Stan Anderson was very involved in this, too, and I started to get very upset about the lack of women anywhere and the lack of consciousness about it. I did write the memo you are referring to. In fact, I had done a whole plan earlier about what should happen in the campaign with respect to women. And then, when it came down to picking keynote speakers, there were no women anywhere. I did write a strong memo and talked with the men at the campaign. Things changed, and I have to credit the men in charge. Stan, clearly, was part of that, and I don't know who else was involved, but they sold it and that's how Anne Armstrong came to be the keynote speaker- a first.
I think they considered some other women, too, for that. They got the message, but it went right down to the zero hour. The convention was to be in August, and I think that I was doing what I just described writing memos and talking to people in July, very worried about how this was going to look on television. And, Anne did a great job.
One other thing that should be mentioned -- to go back to 1971 -- is this business of the Supreme Court. There were, all of a sudden, two vacancies because Justices Black and Harlan were both going to leave. I'd put this, probably, in September. There began a great flurry of speculation about who would be appointed and whether women would be, and I do remember Liz Carpenter, who had been Lady Bird Johnson's press secretary, coming to me representing a bunch of women's groups with a list of women's names who might be considered. I was grateful for that, and then I began to look for women to fill these vacancies, thinking that, "Wouldn't it be great if at least one of them could be a woman," but, of course, I would have liked to have had two.
There were not a lot of women in the judiciary at that point. We could pull out a half a dozen who were the right level, Shirley Hufstedler being a key one. Also there was Cornelia Kennedy, and then some others who were younger, including Rita Hauser, Sylvia Bacon, Norma Johnson.
The problem was that there just weren't enough to choose from, and there were many men lobbying for this through their senators and in other ways. The crucial thing was that Nixon wanted someone who was philosophically compatible with his point of view. And many of the women in the judiciary were Democrats and/or were not strict constructionists. Finding candidates became a problem.
The Department of Justice, though, got into the act, and, I think, really tried or at least acted like they were trying - John Mitchell was the Attorney General. They surfaced the name of Mildred Lillie, a woman who I believe was a state or local court judge in California. She was well known around Los Angeles. The name was floated. The America Bar Association did not think she was qualified and that became known. But there was, I think in some quarters, at least -- the sense that the Administration had really tried to look for women. It was the first time that had ever happened, and I remember making speeches to that effect, that a woman was seriously considered for the first time. Pat Nixon was quoted as saying that she was working on this - I guess, talking to her husband at night. It didn't happen, but, at least, the level of awareness of the need for a woman on the Supreme Court was raised. Then in 1981 President Ronald Reagan did it. So I considered this to be the first shot out of box to make people realize that we really don't have women there and we should.
Q: Of what are you most proud of during those years in the White House?
A: I am most proud of the record. This was a real effort that, as somebody has said who has looked at these papers, this was not just PR, not just photo ops. This was a real effort, starting with a President, and managed and monitored with seriousness, Action Plans, targets and notes from the President when you did well and when you didn't -this made a difference. I think at the senior levels, the numbers speak for themselves, but the effort shook loose the bureaucracy, and that may be the most lasting effect, the fact that the Federal government bureaucracy committed to advancing women. I think the whole thing just rippled out into society. So I'm quite proud of that.
Also, I would indicate, I was sitting there on the point having to do a variety of things - build the talent bank, recruit, work with the liaison people in the personnel office, work with the women's groups, make speeches, write memos about the ERA and other issues, and do whatever else needed to be done. So at a personal level, I must admit that I am proud of myself for being able to do it all - somehow.
However, there was a real team effort in the Administration, and that made a difference. It wasn't just me, yet I had to be the catalyst. There were a lot of people in the departments, and some of the men in the White House who really made this happen. I have to single out Bob Finch as being - at that level in the White House -- the real driver. He just kept watching over this whole effort and saved my skin a couple of times. One time, I do remember that Chuck Colson wrote a memo to Fred Malek saying that he thought Barbara Franklin was getting a little out of hand- and why didn't he shut her up. Fred, to his credit, didn't respond to it. He just sent it along to me with an "FYI." So, in effect, I was doing my job better than some people wanted it done. I think Finch knew about some of these attempts to undercut, because he would have gotten copies of these memos. I think he intervened in ways that I don't know anything about to make sure that I didn't get creamed, because I was down inside the White House bureaucracy. I didn't have a lot of clout institutionally. I had to depend on Malek who reported to Bob Haldeman, the chief of staff. Finch could intervene anywhere at the top of the White House hierarchy and did.
But, there were times when I just wasn't quite sure of my own survival. As it was, I was planning to go back to Citibank in six months. That was the original agreement. I took a six-month leave of absence. Well, after I became visible and started to do this job, I realized that I couldn't do this in six months. I was going to have to stay and see it through. So I went back to the bank and negotiated a longer leave of absence and stayed for two years.
I'm trying to think what else I should indicate being proud of. I suppose that the article I showed you earlier was the breakthrough in the legitimacy cycle of recognition that something really was going on here -
Q: This is the Ruth Dean article?
A: This is the Ruth Dean piece in The Washington Star, which was a great, big piece with a photo. It laid the whole story out with some specific examples of who had been appointed to what position and numbers and so on, and that was November of 1971, and that's when, I think, this effort to appoint more women became credible.
I also found that the closer I got to the election of 1972, the more clout I had in terms of getting anything done, be it appointments or be it interjecting into the campaign, saying, "You don't have any women on the platform or chairing anything, and you need a woman keynoter." I had more clout than I should have, given the location of my position in the White House hierarchy, but that's politics. Some of my clout began to recede after the election.
Q: Do you have any sense of the relationship between progress for women at the federal level and progress at the state and local level, or did you have any occasion to see any interplay there?
A: Yes, although, it's not documented well anywhere.
There were times when the states would host events or sponsor similar programs. I remember being in Tennessee with Governor Winfield Dunn and his wife at an event having to do with women. What the Federal Government was doing, I think, caused the states -at least some of them- to want to do similar things. I don't think we have much documentation of it, and it's too bad, because I think that's a part of the ripple effect. The Federal Government was leading here in a way that it had not been before.
And then the other thing which should be mentioned. Right after the campaign in 1972, I really wanted a couple of women to be appointed to the Cabinet, and also to some other top jobs. I have that memorandum. It urged the same approach, some targets and some women's names and so on-- one big, fat memo at that point.
The decision process about Cabinet appointments moved up to Camp David, and I couldn't directly get to it. Malek was going back and forth and carrying messages, and I just couldn't get at the process the way I had been able to before. However, the President did make Anne Armstrong a counselor to the President with Cabinet rank. That was the first time a woman had Cabinet status since we had Frances Perkins in the Roosevelt era and then Oveta Culp Hobby under Eisenhower. After Nixon resigned in August of 1974, Gerald Ford becoming President, and appointed a woman to his Cabinet. That was Carla Hills. Perhaps this would not have happened if the earlier efforts to advance women had not been made.
Carla came into Justice toward the end of the Nixon Administration. I'm not sure of the timing. Elliot Richardson was the Attorney General. She reminded me the other week that I had interviewed her before she took that job.
And then, as I was leaving the White House in May, 1973 - Jerry Jones had become head of Presidential Personnel - and I wrote another big memo. Its message: This is what we accomplished; this is what I think you now should do and pointed out some things for the future.
As it turned out, they did not organize the White House or Presidential Personnel the same way after that.
Q: So you were not replaced as such?
A: I was not replaced as such. What happened a little bit down the road was that they created a women's liaison role that Jeanne Holm was brought in to fill, after she retired from the Air Force, but the recruiting job was not done the same way. In fact, I'm not so sure that the whole recruiting arm of Presidential Personnel didn't disappear, and I don't believe there's been a recruiting arm since. It's a different organization. I think the Nixon organization was quite unique, and quite effective. There were some good recruiters who really did go looking for talented people. I was looking for women, but they were looking for others, and there were some very good people appointed in that Administration, who later served in the Reagan and Bush Administrations. It was, in some ways, a great training opportunity. Three women who served in the Nixon era became Cabinet Secretaries later. Carla was the first and then she came back to serve in the Bush Administration as U.S. Trade Representative. Elizabeth Dole worked for Virginia Knauer in the Nixon White House, then became Transportation Secretary under Reagan and Labor Secretary under Bush. I'm the third. There are many other women who moved upward to new roles. Helen Bentley became a Congresswoman. Marina Whitman, who was the first woman on the Council of Economic Advisers, became a senior executive at General Motors. Dixie Lee Ray became Governor of the State of Washington. You can go on and on. It was a formative set of years, I think, for the launching of women in many different ways. I wish we could get a better documentation of the true impact, but I know it's there, and this is where it started.
A word about Julie Eisenhower, who was a great cheerleader for this project. She wrote me notes -- some of which are in my papers - and I wrote to her. She would talk about this effort for women in her speeches -- one of which I found in my papers. She was only 22 or 23 at the time, but she was the one who was out there talking about this. I thought that was great. The President's daughter was proud of what her dad was doing.
Q: Another question I have and I don't know whether you have any way of evaluating this - is whether there was any spillover from the U.S. effort internationally, and-
A: No way to evaluate. But there was, because these efforts laid the groundwork for that big International Women's Year celebration that occurred in - was it 1975? I think it was that year.
A: Was it '74?
Q: No, it was '75 or '76, I guess -
A: And the U.S., I believe, was much better prepared to be in a leadership role because of all that we had done and all the women who were in key places. By this time, Virginia Allan was at the State Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. I had a hand in placing her there, along with Stan Anderson. We absolutely got that done. She had been a great spearhead earlier when she chaired the task force, and she was a leader in this international effort along with Pat Hutar and others. The Ford Administration continued the emphasis on women, and, so did Carter.
By then, the genie was out of the bottle. I think you could not have turned back this tidal wave - and it was a tidal wave. I'm amazed at the progress that's been made since then, in some ways, faster than I would have expected although some of the same roadblocks and issues are still there. Women still have to be better. There's still the tension between family and career potential competition, if you want to call it that, where there are dual career spouses. There's still not a consensus about what I would call "leadership style" or "executive style." Dixie Lee Ray, in her way, was a ground-breaker. Helen Bentley, in her own pithy way, also. I used to get quite annoyed at the stereotyping. In some of my speeches I commented about the way I was described as "tiny, diminutive and Dresden-doll-like" -- that one was always in there. I could never understand why all those adjectives were necessary. Would we ever talk about the "diminutive, Dresden-doll-like" Henry Kissinger? I used that line. I don't think Henry appreciated this very much. He was White House National Security Advisor at the time. So there was stereotyping and there is still some of that today. The area of risk still exists. Women are sometimes afraid to move in and out of government, because they aren't sure of finding a place when they leave. Of course, government isn't a place were many people want to go today. That has changed in our society. It's too bad. Back then, being in a government position was an honorable thing to do. Now, I'm not so sure it's thought of quite that way.
Q: You just mentioned Virginia Allan. The task force work was concluded before you came to Washington, but I gather you have had many occasions to work with Virginia after you were appointed. Would you like to tell us something about her?
A: Yes, I did. She was always there. She was connected with Business and Professional Women's Clubs. She may have been the President of BPW or the past President and was involved in so many places where I was making speeches or meeting women. She was always very supportive of the cause and always non confrontational about it. She knew how to present a case with a smile, and, "This is what you really ought to do." Very persuasive. She got along with women of all stripes, those who were the more militant ones and the more conservative ones. She was a real gem. She was a pivotal part of this whole area in her nice, quiet, persuasive way.
I'm trying to think who else was around that was important. Catherine East ought to be mentioned also, who was in the Women's Bureau at the Labor Department in a career position. Now, one of the things we agreed to do -- I found that in a memo, too, in 1972, was to elevate the Women's Bureau and give it more stature. Libby Koontz was the head of it -- the Presidential appointee but Catherine East had been there for years and was a pivotal part of this. Reactivated then were things like the Citizens Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Jackie Gutillig was the Chairman. Catherine East was the Secretary. There was an interdepartmental group relating to the status of women that had been in existence for a long time, but had nearly died. We rejuvenated that. So along with this whole appointments effort, we were trying to rejuvenate these other institutional groups that were already in place but were dormant.
Catherine East was a great catalyst. She knew anybody who was anybody trying to advance women, and she didn't care who she helped as long as they supported the cause. She was not partisan. I'm sure Catherine was a Democrat, but she was not partisan at all, and she knew just who to put in touch with whom in the private sector or in the government. She was wonderful, always upbeat, always optimistic, was helpful to me, and was helpful to everybody, I believe.
Q: You mentioned Virginia and Catherine. What help did you get from other outside resources, women of the press corps, after your initial news conference with them; women's organizations; women in Congress
A: Well, there was a lot of interest. Certainly- there weren't many women in Congress then, but there were some men in Congress who helped. I think I mentioned to you Hugh Scott as being one. People were trying to get in on the action. It became a politically good thing to do.
A number of women's groups were helpful and supportive. BPW, the General Federation of Women's Clubs, American Association of University Women. There was a group of women in science. There was a group in education, and there were some others. I reached out to them. That was part of what I was doing. And to build a talent bank, I needed their help. Federal Employed Women (FEW) on balance, was supportive, even though they would get frustrated that not enough was happening fast enough. What had been building here, I believe, is that nothing much had been happening for women for all of the 1960s in the government. Then the Civil Rights Act passed. It did have the gender phrase -- that was 1964 - and women were frustrated, spinning their wheels, wondering , "Why doesn't somebody care?" So they were impatient. I don't blame them for being impatient. I was impatient, too. And it took me a little time to get immersed and to understand the politics.
I didn't understand the politics of the women's movement when I arrived at the White House, so I had to learn. I had been sheltered in that bank. I had my own hurdles, but had been sheltered from the outside world.
There were some other groups, the ones on the other side, the National Women's Political Caucus and the National Organization for Women were new and not as helpful. They were more in the mode of making noise outside the system, which was fine. We needed that, so that we could then make progress inside.
One of the tragedies - I do remember this I used to get all these resumes from women who really didn't have any qualifications, who had spent most of their lives being homemakers and now had to work, because there was a divorce or something else. They were lacking in training and qualifications. Those were sad cases. There was a lot of it back then. Now, I think women have gotten a little more savvy about the need to have some skills.
Q: Moving on, now, to the Consumer Product Safety Commission years - unless you've got something that you want to add.
A: Okay. Do you want to have lunch, Jean?
Q: Okay. I'll be glad to break.
Q: Barbara, we're moving on to the period when you became- when you went to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, serving as the commission's first Vice Chairman, and that was a brand new agency, and what were the tasks you set about accomplishing there?
A: First, a comment on the background. The Consumer Product Safety Act was passed in the fall of 1972 and signed by the President in October. There were five new seats on that commission. As was my custom, I would try to go to the powers in charge - meaning Malek and the liaison team -- and get a commitment for, in this case, two women. There had never been two women on the five-member commission. I got that commitment and was recruiting for two of those slots. One of those slots was to be filled by Connie Newman, an African-American and the director of Action, and the other slot was to be someone from the private sector.
Somewhere in the early part of 1973 - February maybe - word came down to me from on high that, "We want you to go to this commission." I was not sure whether I wanted to do that. I had come out of a regulated industry, namely banking, and wasn't sure about being a regulator. So I went back to see Walter Wriston, the Citibank CEO, and told him about this. I remember that he looked out the window for what seemed to me a long time and then he said, "Well, if that's what they want you to do, you better do it or you better get out of the country, because that's just the way that world works down there." That seemed to be good advice, and I agreed to go to the Product Safety Commission. I then severed my leave at Citibank. That was where I stepped off, without realizing I was stepping off, the corporate career track
I had been planning. To start a new agency, there were four of us whose confirmations went to the U. S. Senate. There had been five, but the fifth guy dropped out. So we were four of us awaiting a confirmation vote by the Senate Commerce Committee at the time that Bob Haldeman and John Erlichman resigned. This was because the Watergate scandal was heating up. I do remember being very concerned about this, knowing the Ervin committee, which was holding the Nixon impeachment hearings, had looked at all of my submissions to the Senate just because I was White House staff. I remember being concerned that I might not get confirmed by the Senate just because I was White House staff. They could start the commission with only three commissioners. None of that occurred.
I was confirmed- we all were- the first week of May of 1973. I was the last White House staff person confirmed by the Senate that year. The Senate turned other nominations down.
At the new agency, the task at hand was to set it up. What we had gotten was a piece of the Food & Drug Administration and a piece of the Federal Trade Commission. The challenge was to make some sense out of this, and it was pretty chaotic at the beginning. Since I was the first Vice Chairman, I figured I had to do something. There was no definition of what a vice chairman was to do anyway. That statute created a strong chairmanship.
This particular chairman liked to call meetings on the spur of the moment. He would sit in the barely furnished conference room, and he would opine that we needed to do something about matches (or some other product), and then a discussion would ensue. We might decide to do something or not. There was no agenda. There were no minutes.
So I decided that one of the things I could do to help the cause was to at least write up an agenda and make sure we had minutes of the meetings. So I did, and we started to have some order. I also helped to create a budget process.
I concentrated on child safety. This came out of an intellectual reasoning about product safety, starting with who were the most vulnerable consumers. The most vulnerable ones are the children and the elderly. The next questions: What's the interaction between the product and the user? What is the cause of an accident - the product or the user? Out of those questions and answers, I came around to being a champion of safety for children, because I think they are the most vulnerable group.
They do not understand risk and don't know what to do when they get into trouble. So products that are specifically for children need to be designed with safety in mind. We got a lot done by just reasoning together with the makers of children's products, without any regulatory activity.
At the time, though, coming from the FDA was the beginnings of the child-resistant packaging for products such as prescription drugs and household cleaning products. The Product Safety Commission refined and finalized the regulations. That's why there are safety caps on various drugs and other substances. Those regulations have a great record of success, even though some adults didn't like them. I kept pursuing the initiative on children for the whole time I was at the Commission. It made a difference, and that's why there are some plaques hanging in my conference room, from the American Academy of Pediatrics and others in recognition of this work.
A couple of other things that I was concerned about: voluntary standards. The threshold to do mandatory standards is high. A lot of criteria have to be met under the Consumer Product Safety Act, and the process is very costly. So if you can get things done voluntarily, it's cheaper and often more effective. So I initiated a policy on voluntary standards that all commissioners worked on, but for which I was the draftee. The policy indicated the criteria for a voluntary standard to be begun rather than a mandatory one. Hopefully, over the years, this approach has saved the public some money.
Another thing I did was to use cost-benefit analysis, which was embryonic then. The people working with it were mostly academics. I found the discipline of laying out the benefits of a given regulatory action versus the costs was really good because it forced one to look at all sides. That's the way I made my decisions. I seriously worked at it, even if I didn't attach numbers to the costs and benefits every time, but it was a great template from which to approach a decision and to try to be objective. I think I was one of those around the government who pioneered this. OMB used to talk about it some, but the technique wasn't being that widely used.
Q: The standard now in regulatory procedure.
A: Yes. I found it a very useful tool, but that was back in the early days of all of this. What else? What should I point out about this?
One of the other things that I was a great believer in was setting priorities for the Commission's work. There's a provision in the Product Safety Act that allows any interested party to petition the commission to look into a safety problem. The difficulty we were having was that there was no priority being set on these petitions. So every petition that came in was getting the same amount of commission resources. This was ridiculous because we didn't have all that many resources to begin with, and some petitions were frivolous. So we set up a way to prioritize those petitions. We could decide which ones got resources behind them and which ones didn't. I was a pusher of doing that. The Chairman didn't want to do it- he wanted to devote resources to whatever came. He would- he's an entrepreneurial guy and not much of a technocrat.
There was another episode that occurred, which was a little strange, toward the end of 1993. If you remember what was going on then the taping of Nixon's conversations had come out, and there was
Q: This was '73, I think.
A: What did I say?
Q: It sounded like '93.
A: Oh, it's 1973, yes.
And so there was talk about "the tapes" and what the White House was doing or covering up. That was just general talk around town.
It was December, and I had gone to Europe Virginia Knauer. She was the U.S. representative to the OECD Consumer Committee and was allowed to take one other person with her as an alternate. She asked me to go with her and the Commission said okay. So off we went.
Well, at the time I was on my way there, the rest of the Commission, at the Chairman's instigation, cast a vote that was very strange. They said that the White House was interfering with Commission appointments and that they disapproved of it. The vote was four to nothing, and then they released it to the press. Of course, the Democrats in Congress got ahold of it and began accusing the White House. This was fantasy. The Nixon White House, at that point, was coming apart and was too immobilized to be interfering in anything.
They also accused - in the same missive the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission of inappropriate activity in this regard. Bob Hampton was the chair. He was furious about this. It was just one more nail in the Nixon coffin. This vote by the Commission got a lot of press, and so, when I returned, various folks from the press and the Hill were wondering how I would vote or would have voted. I was determined that I was not going to respond; I thought my colleagues were wrong. But I also thought that "they've already voted. Why should I now get embroiled in this?" I had called the White House personnel office and asked, "Are you interfering?" and the answer was no.
Had we been called to the Hill - and, actually, we were, except that the hearing was called off - I was going to say: "I don't think any White House should do that, but, in this case, I see no proof that they are interfering. This is an overblown case, and I would have to respectfully disagree with my colleagues." Anyway, the hearing was aborted and I was never questioned. This was probably early spring of '74.
One of the things that happened was this: Mike Pertschuk, Senator Magnuson's (D-WA) chief staffer on the Commerce Committee, was the driver of some of this. He was also was part of the group of Democrats to do Nixon in something I didn't know until years later. His committee staff numbered 60 people. Senator Marlowe Cook (R-KY), who was then the ranking Republican on the Commerce committee - disapproved of much of what Pertschuk was doing. Someone unearthed memos that had Pertschuk's name on them, and showed that he had been interfering in the Commission's hiring. So what happened was - long story, short -Marlowe Cook surfaced all of this, and these hearings were canceled. He was intending to go after Pertschuk for the very same thing that the Commissioners were accusing the White House of. This just illustrates something about the atmosphere in this town then, and how someone, like me, who had nothing to do with the Watergate scandal, but who was on the White House staff, was caught up in some of this innuendo.
However, I am forgetting one other thing that I did at the Product Safety Commission. It may be the most important thing of all. By then, Jimmy Carter was in office. This was after Ford. We're getting into 1977. There was a barrage of activity about carcinogens. Everything, it seemed, was thought to have been carcinogenic. We had three regulatory agencies - no, four regulatory agencies - and three research activities in the government all investigating carcinogenicity, and all doing different things without any coordination. I began to speak out publicly about the need to coordinate these efforts so that the public wouldn't be frightened inadvertently, and that business knew what it could and could not do. I just pounded away at that.
The Washington Post picked it up editorially, and then they started pounding away at the issue. I wrote letters to President Carter. I had nothing to lose since I wasn't looking to be reappointed. The letter said, in effect, "You really need to do something about this." The Post picked up these letters, and finally, the Administration did move to put a coordinating activity together for the regulatory and the health agencies. So I felt quite good about that.
Q: You should.
A: I felt this was a substantive accomplishment.
Then, ironically, the Reagan Administration came in, figured Carter had done that, dismantled it, then realized that it was needed, and put it back together.
Anyway, that's probably enough of both the ups and downs of product safety.
Q: You went on from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to the academic world, and tell us about your position at Wharton. That was another one where you had to set up something new, right?
A: Yes. There was a new Public Management unit, and I was a Senior Fellow, which gave me kind of a -
Q: Of Wharton Business School?
A: Wharton -- yes, Wharton is part of the University of Pennsylvania. Senior Fellows do whatever the dean thinks is appropriate. The dean wanted the practical side of regulatory work represented. Besides, I was part of his plan to fatten up the Public Management unit and, later on, merge it with another unit, Legal Studies, so that those two together would have enough critical mass to become a Public Management Department. That was accomplished later on in the 1980s. The dean had, however, cooked this up early on.
What I did there, mostly, was to lecture about regulatory activity in some of the classes in the first year; and then the dean wanted me to resurrect what became the Wharton Government
and Business Program. It had been the Wharton Public Policy Fellowship Program, which brought students to Washington for the summer and they had to meet certain academic criteria. It was a competitive program, backed by corporate money, and had just about disappeared. There was no money and there was nobody leading the program. So I resurrected it, raised corporate money to back it and got it going again. It was a very successful program. We renamed it, and I ran it almost until the time I left there.
But during that same period of time, in the 1980s, I started to join the boards of large companies. Then somewhere in there, about 1984, I set up my first business, a consulting business. I continued to commute to Philadelphia every week or two to Wharton. So I worked at this combination of activities for all of the decade of the 1980s, adding more boards. So at the end of the 1980s, I was on seven large public company boards.
Q: What about- tell me about what's it like to be a woman in a board setting? Because, frequently, you are the only woman on the board, or maybe there's one other. What special challenges are there?
A: The challenge is the same that is true anywhere, where you're the only one of anything. I think minorities feel this kind of pressure, too. In the case of the boards, when I first joined big boards, I was 39-40 years old, so not only was I the only woman, but I had a generation gap with a lot of those men. And it took some time for them to take me seriously, and once that hurdle was overcome, things were okay. The big challenge was to be taken seriously and not viewed as a token. That is not so much a challenge now. Now, there are many more women. It's not surprising to see women on boards with different backgrounds and executive styles, but in the 1980s, it was. Also, boards have changed. That was a time when things were a lot easier. Board members weren't expected to participate all that much. Now, you are expected to participate actively and well. Boards are smaller and the world is going faster. It's just a whole lot more serious than it was then. But the challenges always were - you know, "If I say anything, are they going to think I'm dumb or inexperienced, or are they going to take into account what I say at all?"
Q: Um-hum. Were there expectations that you would be turned to for what might be conventionally termed "a woman's point of view," or-
Q: Rather than for expertise and experience?
A: Yes. I would say so, and, yet, I was always conscious of not wanting to be just a woman's voice. That's not the responsibility of a director under any state corporation statute, and so I was careful in the way I raised issues about women.
Now, you have men bringing up these issues, and I love it. That takes the heat off me. I can always add something to that kind of discussion, but I don't always feel the pressure of having to be the one to bring it up.
The other subtle pressure is knowing how to do things in each corporate setting and how to be effective, as differentiated from being taken seriously. I had to learn when to bring an issue up in a meeting or when to talk with the CEO about it first, and then bring it up, or maybe not even to bring it up. In other words, there was a different code of conduct, way of operating. Some of this is the gender-differentiated, white man's world, and knowing how to operate in it, and that was one of the big challenges. I learned more about that from an African American man with whom I served than I learned from anybody else. He had had to learn it and was not adverse to sharing some of what he had learned. In other words, one didn't want to get into trouble and do something that would cause you not to be taken seriously. Incidentally, I was still wearing red dresses.
Q: You told me earlier that you had become active in politics before you were appointed at the White House, and I gather you've remained active in politics during the intervening years. Why is it important for women to be active in politics?
A: Well, I think, in the end, if you want to have a voice, you have to be in the game, and one way to be in the game is to be participating at some level. The only time that I didn't participate actively was when I was at the Product Safety Commission, which was to be a non-partisan assignment. So the only Republican Convention I haven't been to, since I started going to those in 1972, is the one in 1976. I have been to all the rest and have been a delegate and a speaker.
There are lots of different ways for people to participate in the political process. One just needs to pick the way that makes the most sense at the time. People are very busy now and all of this takes time. For example, I've done a lot of fund raising, for the Bush Presidential Campaign among others. I've co-chaired with the Governor the Dole campaign in Connecticut in '96. I have also chaired the finance operation of the Connecticut Republican Party after I got out of Commerce. The party was $200,000 in debt and falling apart. I had to create a fund- raising apparatus where there wasn't one and we wiped out the debt and raised a million dollars. I've also been involved in the political side and have done surrogate speaking. Everyone has to pick their own thing, but be in it somewhere.
I've been asked one rather bald question by a man, who shall remain nameless. This was after I was out of office at Commerce. "How come you got to be Commerce Secretary? I'm just as qualified as you, and, in fact, probably more so," said he. "Why didn't I get asked?" And my question to him - I had several things I might have said- was, "Were you in the game?" He wasn't and even worse he didn't understand the question. He was nowhere in the
political process. Well, one needs to be in there somewhere, so that one has a chance to be appointed if one wants to be. Every so often, somebody gets appointed who is not, but not usually. The same question has been raised about Madeleine Albright, but, she has been involved in Democrat politics for years as an advisor here and there. People don't always see that part.
So this man I was talking about apparently didn't understand that I had been very involved, and had known George Bush since he served at the UN when I was in the White House. That's where I met the Bushes. One needs to understand how the system works.
Q: You just mentioned a period when you were Secretary of Commerce under Bush, and, in a way, you became a beneficiary of your earlier work -
A: In a way, yes, as did a lot of other people, I think, yes.
Q: What insights did that give you into the problems and opportunities of women today?
A: To go back to some of those same issues that were apparent when I was at the White House, I think doors are a lot more open now in all fields to women. The glass ceiling has cracked. What's left, besides the typical family-career balancing issues, are the barriers that are far more subtle. I will give you one rather personal example from Commerce.
Somewhere there arose the impression - I think I know who did this- that I was appointed to be a "cheerleader," and not to run that department. The quiet implication was, "My goodness. Can a woman really run that big conglomerate of a department?" Some of the Bush campaign staff, right after I got to Commerce, started calling on me to do events. I knew what the President was expecting me to do. We had an agreement on that. I was not going to do any campaign events, until I got the department under control managerially, and that was going to be at least 60-90 days. It was going to be summer. These individuals just had to wait, and I did my fair share of campaigning later.
But to go back to where we started, that's what I call a subtle barrier - a stereotype. I do not think a man would have been thought of as a cheerleader who wasn't going to run the department. Some of the political appointees who were there when I arrived had difficulty adjusting to the style of the new Secretary. My predecessor had a different style altogether, and they were used to running things their own way. I had to ease some of them out.
Q: You've gone from business to government to academia and back to business and government. What interrelationships have you discovered, and, if so, why are they important, among the three areas?
A: Interesting question. Flexibility is required. You have to learn and be effective in whatever the system is that you're in. But, once one knows how government works and how business works, one can put on your government hat in the boardroom and interpret an issue from a governmental perspective, if that's called for- and vice versa. So it's this ability to take off one hat and put another on, and then to put the first one on again. I think this ability is useful in any environment, but it takes adaptability - and sensitivity.
I would also say that we are fortunate in the U.S., because most other countries do not have this mobility where one can keep changing venues and go back and forth from business to government to academia. Most other countries in the world have societies in which careers develop on only one track. This is an amazing part of America that we often don't appreciate. When I was Commerce Secretary, I remember being in Europe and one of my counterparts from a European country coming up to me at a cocktail party and saying, "You know, I'm really envious that you have been in business. I wish I could have been in business before I became Commerce Minister, because it would have helped so much. How fortunate you are that the u.s. allows you to do that," and then he was gone. It was one of those great little snippets of conversation. Also, in this society of ours, people do different things and they fail at one thing and are successful at another, and it's accepted. That cannot be done in many other countries.
We were born into a great country.
You are now an expert on international trade. How did you become interested in the international area?
A: Actually, that interest began when I was at the Singer Company doing global competitive analysis. Then, at the Product Safety Commission, where I got involved in the process of setting international standards for products. This was run out of London, now out of Brussels. In the early 1980s, President Reagan appointed me to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations twice and that really stimulated my interest in trade. By then, I was on some boards of companies that were very global, Dow Chemical being a prime example. So the international expertise just built up naturally. I made sure I learned as much as I could and traveled to all corners of the world. The Commerce experience enhanced that international perspective.
Q: You mentioned your management style in relationship to serving as Secretary of Commerce. How would you describe that style?
A: That is another thing that ought to be highlighted. Although, I think back in the White House days we weren't looking at management style as much, but it is an issue. I am a participatory manager. I think that most women, or many women, by instinct, are as well, which means that they like to lead by example, by delegating and by bringing people together and forging a consensus. It's the antithesis of command and control, which is, "You will do this, and you will do that." I don't think this works well anymore. Today's organizations are very teamwork oriented. We keep pushing decisions down into the organization. We cannot expect people to be empowered and work in teams if someone at the top is giving specific orders every minute.
I think women are much better attuned to this leadership style. It's still not a universally appreciated leadership style, however, and it's confusing to some who are used to another way of doing things. But I used this approach at Commerce, and it worked very well.
Out of this approach came the Commerce rallying theme, "Commerce is the new front line for growth and jobs" and the seven-point agenda. The agenda was turned into action plans and integrated into the budget process. We had a mission that pulled the Department together, and a great burst of energy was unleashed.
I was told not to try this management style, that it would not work, that I would give up too much power. What happened was just the opposite. Participating management gives the leader more power, not less. When one lets go, the power returns- doubly. But that is counter intuitive and must be experienced to be believed. What happened at Commerce was exciting in terms of accomplishment and motivation at a time in the life of an Administration when people were weary. Had I had the chance to stay a little longer, this result would have been more obvious.
Leadership style for women is still confusing. Some men - and some women- still don't know how to relate to professional women who look different or who come in different sizes and shapes. This is still rather unexplored territory.
Q: And this would be true regardless of whether the setting was government or business or -
A: Yes, this is
Q: - academic.
A: This is -
Q: Across the board.
A: - across the board confusion that is just part of the interrelationship of genders in the workplace. I do think aspects of appearance and style cut both ways. Sometimes they work for us, sometimes against us. Where I come out is that one has to be whoever one is. If you try to be someone else or imitate another executive style, I don't think that would work.
Q: You've traveled all over the world. How would you compare the status of women in the U.S. with those in other countries currently?
A: We're far ahead. How we measure that precisely, I don't know. But we are looked to around the world as the leaders in everything having to do with the status of women. Occasionally, there is a woman head of state somewhere, but those countries still don't have a proliferation of women in all walks of life the way we do here. Clearly, we are the leader.
Things are not perfect here, but we are leagues ahead of most other countries. I think we have a responsibility to do it right, so that others know how to follow.
Q: You have a chance to observe younger women, in your own office, for example. How would you compare their attitudes - talking specifically about their responsibility to contribute to advancing women's rights-- with those of your generation, or is that a fair question?
A: I'll leave the ones in my office out, but I think a lot of younger women don't understand what has happened. They think it's always been like this and if one isn't successful, "Well, what did you do wrong?" There is a lack of recognition of the barriers, institutional and otherwise, that were there. I'm hoping that some of these young people begin to understand the pioneering that was done by a lot of women who went first and who perhaps did not break some of the barriers, but made it possible for others to follow. The women who were in these breakthrough positions in the Nixon Administration, I'm sure, struggled in a lot of different ways, but made it very much easier for the next group.
I think young women today ought to have a little history lesson now and then, just so they know that things weren't always like this, specifically society's acceptance of both having a career and a family. Now, the presumption is you can have it all, except maybe you can't have it all at once. Perhaps that is becoming clearer now- that if you're going to have a career you can and if you're going to have a family, you can- but that one can't do everything simultaneously with the same degree of intensity.
Q: I'd like to turn nov1 to a different topic, family influences. Many of our interviewees have told us their parents' best. What about you?
A: It was certainly true of my father, who was a superintendent of schools. I was the principal's daughter. He was a man committed to excellence, committed to education, committed to integrity, really a very good man. He built and ran a superb school system. His view of things was, "Do whatever you want to do. If I can help you, I will, but do it well." That was his view and not a common one for fathers in Lancaster County in those days.
My mother, on the other hand, who was a very nice woman, just thought I should be "normal," thought I should be like everybody else. "Why do you have to do all these things all the time?"
So there were mixed signals for me growing up, and whatever I did, it was never right with someone. If I excelled at something, my father thought it was great. My mother said, "Oh, here she goes again."
So was there family influence? Oh, yes, very strong family influence, both on the negative and the positive side, on confusion that I was always trying to overcome, so I was always trying to be perfect.
Q: And another aspect is a supportive husband, and Wally, obviously, we know made many sacrifices for you to become Secretary of Commerce.
A: Right. He absolutely did. Yes, and I don't know that a lot of men would have been willing to do it. He says that he used to be in the dark ages on this whole business of what women ought to do, and that he's now become very enlightened because of me and my friends. He has been perfectly wonderful, and now seems to enjoy and take pride in all of the things that I've done.
And, to go back to the Commerce experience. Those conflict of interest laws and regulations treat the nominee and the spouses as though they are the same person. The Bush Administration required a higher standard even than the laws. So, theoretically, the nominee and spouse had to sell all securities before the proceeds could be put into a blind trust. You cannot just take what you have and put it into the blind trust. You have to sell it first. There are capital gains ramifications, which still difficult.
Well, here is my husband, no longer the CEO of Barnes Group, but the Chairman of the board. He's the head of the family and owns a large chunk of stock. For him to have to sell that stock was just impossible for a variety of reasons. So the only way out was to get a waiver from the President, which is what I did, so that he could retain the stock and do some of the other things he was doing. It meant I did not have to sell my Barnes Group stock either, but I had to be recused from certain issues, springs for automobiles that Barnes Group makes. The President was willing to grant the waiver. Otherwise, I could not have served. As it was, Wally had to sell some other stocks. Not every spouse would have been willing to do it.
A footnote to that: John Dingell was the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee and is from the Detroit area. He represents automobile country and is a powerful and tenacious man. I began to get letters from him saying, "How can you be an effective Commerce Secretary if you're recused on matters having to do with automobiles?" There was a misunderstanding about my Chairman Dingell and took springs with me suspension springs, valve springs. I went into his office and put them on his coffee table, and said, "That's what my recusal is about. It's not automobiles." That was the end of it. He and I became friends and still are.
Q: Your management style, again.
A: Well, perhaps. But I really am concerned about these regulations and statutes. They ought to be reviewed. The presumption is that the nominee is a man with a wife who doesn't own anything or work, and that is not a viable assumption today. I do remember Cynthia Hall flagging this issue twenty years ago, saying, "Women are going to have trouble with this business of conflict vis- -vis what their husbands do." She was right.
Q: We're nearing the end of our interview. I just have a couple more questions, then I'll be asking you what we haven't talked about.
I want to go back to '69 to '74, and kind of get a feeling from you of how you would describe that era and its significance to women overall.
A: In hindsight, it was a watershed in terms of advancement for women. It began with the Federal Government being in the lead, and I believe that the efforts of President Nixon to appoint more women and pay attention to equality in a serious way brought a bra-burning, left-wing movement right into society's mainstream. This made women's equality legitimate. That's probably the biggest thing that happened. But then, if you just look at the numbers of women appointed and the breakthroughs that were made, this really was quite a special era, and I believe it opened the floodgates. Once that happened, there was no turning back in terms of equality for women, and even though the ERA, which President Nixon supported, failed to be ratified in the states, by that time it didn't make any difference. We were on the way. There was nothing that was going to stop this movement. I think that's quite remarkable, actually, and when we now realize that it's 25 years ago, there has been so much change in those 25 years. It happened faster than I might have imagined.
I found some notes of one in some of these press interviews that I've dug up over the weekend. I was quoted as saying that this White House job and what needs to be done in terms of appointing women is bigger than I ever would have thought, and the more you get into it, the bigger it gets and the more you see how much more there is to do. We're still not finished, but we've come a long way in 25 years.
Again, one of the great things about this country and one of the clear assets we talked about before is the fact that we have so much mobility. People can move around and do different things. We're not a rigid society, locked into either classes or tracks, and it's one of the reasons I think this change happened as fast as it did. This is America.
Q: The interviews we've conducted to date indicate there was a remarkable degree of camaraderie among the women involved, the few good women we've been talking about.
A: The few good women, yes.
Q: And so why was that important? Was that your experience, and is it unusual?
A: Yes and no. I think among those women in government who were really concerned about the advancement of women- and I'm talking now about Bentley and Bedell and Knauer, among others yes, there really was a lot of camaraderie and support. I began having meetings in the Roosevelt Room, too, bringing women appointees together, and that was great. That fueled the camaraderie. I used to bring them over to the White House mess to have lunch, because that gave them status, and that's what EWG evolved from, out of those meetings.
Q: EWG, Executive
A: Executive Women in Government. I was a founder. That group was founded after I left the White House, and I stopped those meetings. The women appointees wanted to continue to get together, and so, Ethel Walsh was one of the prime movers in getting them together and forming EWG.
What did you ask me?
Q: About the level of camaraderie.
A: There was, however, also prevalent at that time what I was calling the "Queen Bee Syndrome," which crops up in some of my speeches. There were some women- not just in government, but outside - who had fought so hard to get to wherever they were that when they got there, they were not about to help anybody else. You know, "I fought hard. You can do the same thing," and they liked being the only women or they liked being Queen Bees.
There was still a fair amount of that, but not among the women who were concerned about moving women ahead.
We still have some of that going on today, but not nearly to the degree that there was then. It's also a function of numbers. The more women, the more critical mass of women, it's not as possible to be a Queen Bee anymore.
You've accomplished a lot since you graduated from Harvard in 1964, and - this is probably a terrible question to throw at you, but if you could look at everything, that whole span of years between '64 and '98, of what are you the most proud? Other than Wally.
A: Other than Wally. Wally, yes, finally getting it right.
Well, actually, that's a hard question, because there were a lot of different things. Wherever I have been, I have been a player, because I don't like to be anywhere and not be a player. But in terms of being proud of - probably this White House chapter and what it's done to increase opportunities for women throughout our society. Also I'd mention some of the work I did at Commerce, increasing U.S. exports, the reopening of the relationship with China, and the work we did to try to implant more firmly capitalism in Russia. I think probably those two government experiences would be at the top of the list, but there are a lot of other things that were important, too.
Q: Now, what have we not talked about
A: What have we not talked about?
Q: I can turn the -
A: Turn it off for a moment.
Q: We're back, and Barbara has an anecdote about the bust of Susan B. Anthony at the White House.
A: One of the things that we dreamed up in 1972 that we thought would underscore this push toward equality was a bust of Susan B. Anthony to be placed in the White House. So we dreamed up that idea probably Judy Kauffman dreamed it up, actually - and we sold it to our superiors. Then we had to get someone to create the bust, and several women's groups- I know that Virginia Allan and BPW were part of this, and I don't recall right now the others - agreed to pick up the tab, which wasn't all that much.
They decided to copy the bust of Susan B. Anthony that is in the Capitol. It was done in bronze somewhere in upper New York State. Anyway, the bust was shipped to the White House and taken to my office. Then we had to wait for some months before there was an opportunity to present her. Mrs. Nixon did the honors and I seem to remember that it was the summer of 1972. We had created a Woman's Equality Day in August of 1972. The first one was done through a presidential proclamation. Now, you see that every year, we were the ones to start it. Anyway, between the time that Susan B. was delivered and her presentation to Mrs. Nixon, she resided in a closet in my White House office on the third floor of the Old EOB. When someone said something that was derogatory about women, Susan B. would steal out of my closet in the dead of night and appear the next morning in the office of the guilty party to underscore her point. Then, of course, I had to come and rescue her and bring her back to the closet. She was heavy. But it was known that the bust and the spirit of Susan B. Anthony roamed the White House on occasion at night.
Q: With no help from anybody.
A: No help from anyone. She just knew exactly where to go, and Ron Ziegler was one who was always on the top of the list.
Anyway, one other comment that I would make, about my career, which has been a very fast-paced one -- and I'd like to think it's not over. One of the great things about it has been the spectrum of really quite special people I have had the opportunity to meet and work with around the world, including heads of state, political people, business people, academics and others of all genders and colors and races. I consider that to be a special and extraordinary experience.
Q: You don't want to identify any of those special people for fear you'll leave names off?
A: Oh, of course. Well, several presidents. How many- I've served Nixon and knew him and really had the chance for some closure on that experience before he passed away in 1994 -- yes, 1994 -- because he had a 25·' anniversary of his first inaugural at the library. He was in quite an expansive frame of mind. I had never seen him quite like that, and we talked, then, about China, because he had given me some advice before I went to China in 1992. In fact, he called me. There was a New York Times article that was trying to make the trip sound like a junket, and his exact words were, "To hell with them. Do it. You're doing the right thing." So I had a chance to complete that circle, and then he died two months later.
Gerald Ford, who, of course, I was not as close to, but who was still around. Ronald Reagan. George Bush, who I was and am in close touch with him about a whole lot of different things. Then there are people like Li Lanqing, now important in China; Jiang Zemin, president of China; President Boris Yeltsin of Russia; or Igor Gaidar, the brains behind reform in Russia. There are those who are CEO's of companies or who are in the Congress or who are just wonderful people.
Many of them are women. There are the Pat Longos and Ellie Klapaths of the world, the women in Connecticut who have worked for the Republican party for many years - people who really believe in the system, do the work, get very little thanks and very little credit. There are great people like that all around the country. My original home state of Pennsylvania has a lot of those people, but so does my current home state of Connecticut. It's this whole spectrum of interconnected humanity, which is really what I think life is all about. I feel I've had and am having a very rich experience.
Q: Thank you very much.
Q: Barbara has one more comment she'd like to add.
A: This has to do with women trying to figure out who we were and where we were going. I'm thinking now of the 1960s. While I was at Harvard Business School, the The Feminine Mystique, the groundbreaking book of Betty Friedan's, was published that started women thinking that maybe there's something else we can do besides being housewives." But, in any case, women were starting down the path of what became known as "consciousness raising" later.
I went to New York, out of HBS -- this is now 1964 -- and my first husband, who had gone to Boston University, introduced me to an older woman who was also a BU alum. She was then an executive at the company which is now Exxon. She and I became fast friends, and one of her great skills was to bring people together into groups to discuss issues. Her name is Charlotte Browne-Mayers. She is now 88 years old and living in Florida.
We then began - I think at her instigation - something that we called "The Group." This is 1964-65. We pulled in- besides herself and myself - a few of the other women who had been in my Harvard Business School Class, who were in New York, plus just a couple of other women that we knew. We met once a month in someone's apartment, we'd have some glasses of wine and talk about whatever was on our minds. Everyone was in a career, and we shared experiences. It was consciousness raising and how to get over the obstacles of the workplace, even though we didn't call it that. That continued until Charlotte then took an appointment at the World Council of Churches in Geneva, about five years later. Then I went to Washington. But I mention it because it was an early effort to try to explore some issues and obstacles confronting us. Since then, I've been involved in the founding of several other women's groups that started for much the same reason.
I consider that my start on this was "The Group" in the 1960s. These women's groups have been an important part of women getting to know who we are, being able to communicate and work together, and not be Queen Bees. Men have learned to do this very well. Women have not been as skilled at it, but we're getting there. So I just wanted to add this to our discussion about women cooperating.
Q: Thank you again.