Are Highly-Educated, High-Income Younger Women Biased Against Women Candidates?

Every African-American guest on every TV show we watch has been visibly and deeply proud of the accomplishments of Senator Obama. This is true even when the guest is a Republican Strategist. For African-Americans who grew up in American Society, it must be a deeply gratifying feeling to see Senator Obama win the Democratic nomination.

We have not seen similar feelings in many Women who are on TV as anchors, reporters or guests. Some are extraordinarily proud of Senator Clinton’s historic achievements in the 2008 campaign but there are many who are unmoved.

This was evident on Friday, August 29 morning when Senator McCain stunned the country with his selection of Governor Sarah Palin as his running-mate. This took place during the “Squawk on the Street” show hosted by Erin Burnett and Mark Haines.

Mark Haines was visibly impressed with the background of Gov. Palin and praised her resume. Erin Burnett, however, seemed unmoved and unimpressed. In fact, turning to a guest, she posed the question whether this choice by Senator McCain suggested that McCain had a weak hand? 

Every one in America has witnessed the harsh and unfair treatment inflicted on Senator Hillary Clinton through out the Democratic primary contests. Many women reporters, women journalists and women anchors (all highly-paid, highly educated and relatively young) heaped scorn on Senator Clinton to an appalling degree during her campaign.

This reminded us of tales we have heard that women, in general, do not prefer to report to women bosses at work; especially highly educated, relatively young women bosses with an MBA or similar qualifications. We have been told that male bosses treat professional women in a fairer manner than the highly charged young female bosses.

It could be that older women had to struggle through a very high level of bias and discrimination during the early stages of their careers. It is due to their efforts that the younger women of today have been accepted with relative ease. The ease of their success might be the reason that such high-income, relatively younger women are less concerned about older women and perhaps a little contemptuous of them.

We watch CNBC a great deal in our day job and we have written a couple of articles about CNBC’s two stars, Erin Burnett and Maria Bartiromo (“Watching CNBC – A Bollywood Rasik’s Perspective” – July 12  www.cinemarasik.com/2008/07/12/watching-cnbc–a-bollywood-rasiks-perspective.aspx and “CNBC Stars – Bartiromo and Burnett – A Bollywood Rasik’s Perspective” – July 26 www.cinemarasik.com/2008/07/22/watching-cnbc–bartiromo–burnett–a-bollywood-rasiks-perspective.aspx).

Our first CNBC article ended with “There are many differences between them (Bartiromo & Burnett). But, discussing them would be like getting between the Stiletto and the Mace. Not for us. Thank You!” Well, we are about to step bravely between these two.

Maria Bartiromo was thrust in to her role when CNBC was a young network. Maria had to walk in to the male-dominated New York Stock Exchange every morning to get information from traders, not all of whom wanted her to be there. She was a fighter and she prevailed, perhaps with a few emotional scars.

Erin Burnett, on the other hand, came to CNBC when women were accepted and in fact, preferred over their male colleagues. She came over as a potential star with a terrific contract and as an anchor with her own show. She has not faced the same struggle that Maria faced. You could argue that Erin is the beneficiary of what Maria went through over a decade ago.

May be it is this difference that came across today. Erin Burnett hosted a panel of 4 men to discuss the Sarah Palin selection on her 2 pm show StreetSigns. The men engaged in a heated discussion. Erin moderated the discussion but, without any passion, emotion or any personal statement about she felt as a woman.

Maria Bartiromo hosted a panel of 2 men, Greg Valiere and Andrew Busch, on her 4 pm show about the Sarah Palin selection. In sharp contrast to Erin, Maria was both emotionally and intellectually passionate about Governor Palin’s selection. Consider the exchange below:

Maria:“Greg, what do you think, what’s your reaction to Palin?”
Greg:“Well, it is an appalling pick on 2 fronts, first of all, this demeans women…….that is pretty condescending to women”
Maria interrupts:“look, as a woman, as a woman, let me put my two cents in here, I am not demeaned, I am not appalled, I actually was very impressed”

A few minutes, another exchange:

Greg:“Is she ready to be President, give me a break!”
Andrew starts saying “it is a question of who you want in the office” and Maria interrupted him excitedly…
Maria: “wait a second, wait a second, is Obama ready to be President?”
Greg:” I think, he has had more exposure on the national stage than she has”
Maria (excitedly): – “exposure, exposure, exposure! but experience?”

Watch Maria’s emotion in this clip at  http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=836316896&play=1 . Watch Greg’s put down of Gov. Palin by calling her “a Mayor of a town of 9,000 people” and Andrew’s response “She is the Governor of a State and he is a Junior Senator from Illinois”.

Maria showed here why she is a CNBC star. We watched a couple of other channels after the stock market closed. None of the women on these other channels showed the passion and the fight that Maria Bartiromo displayed.

The difference in the passion and the attitude of Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett symbolizes, in our opinion, the difference between relatively older women who battled discrimination, hostility during their early years and the younger women who have had a relatively smoother and easier ride to their success. This is the divide between the women who deeply and personally resent the harsh, unfair treatment dealt to Hillary Clinton and the women who rejected Hillary Clinton’s fight as that of an earlier generation of less successful women. The 2008 Presidential election might well come down to which of these two sides translate their feelings into votes for their cause.

It is a matter of fact that Governor Palin has more experience in almost every category than Senator Obama. Yet, Sarah Palin is being ridiculed for not being ready to be President whereas it is taken for granted that Barak Obama is ready to be President. What experience does Obama have that Palin does not? What experience makes Obama more ready to be a President than Palin? The experience of being a man and not a woman!

In other words, people who believe that Obama is ready and Palin is not actually believe that a man is intrinsically and genetically more ready to be President than a woman.

Amazingly, a large number of highly-educated, high-income, relatively young women concur!

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