On the Plane

Diplomatic Girl Power

VIENNA, May 31--Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew here today to attend a meeting of high-powered women political leaders to "network" for peace and security in the Middle East. Joining Rice at the all-day sessions were female ministers from Austria, Egypt, Bahrain, Algeria, Hungary, Croatia, Israel, Pakistan, Iraq and other countries.

The growing ranks of top women officials in foreign affairs is matched by the number of women covering foreign policy.

My colleague Robin Wright recalls being the only woman on the Secretary of State's plane back in the 1970s. On this trip, seven of the ten regular State Department reporters traveling on Rice's plane are women--and most of the regular correspondents based at Foggy Bottom are women as well. They bring a wealth of experience to the job, having covered wars, foreign countries, the White House and other high-powered beats.

All four reporters from the wire services--Anne Gearan of the Associated Press, Sue Pleming of Reuters, Sylvie Lanteaume of Agence France-Press and Janine Zacharia of Bloomberg News--are women. The two CNN representatives--correspondent Zain Verjee and producer Elise Labott--are female. Helene Cooper of The New York Times rounds out the girl-power contingent.

Not to belabor the point, but two of the top officials of the State Department Correspondents Association--Labott, the president, and Gearan, the vice president--are women.

Nonetheless, female solidarity only goes so far. The organizers of the women-ministers event didn't open the doors to any of these reporters. It remained closed to the press.

--Glenn Kessler

In Today's Post: Rice, Russian Clash Over Kosovo Plan, Missile Shield

By washingtonpost.com Editors |  May 31, 2007; 9:02 AM ET  | Trip:  Rice in Europe, May 2007
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I think that there is some improvement for women reporters at the State Department. They may have better paying jobs than in the 1970s. However, the limitations that the State Department puts on all reporters limits their effectiveness. I think that it is more impressive that there are many more women foreign correspondents today. Those reporters are not stuck in the cocoon as much as the Foggy Bottom correspondents. Plus, the work is often more difficult and dangerous than going to briefings and riding on an Air Force plane with the Secretary of State.

Posted by: Jeff | June 1, 2007 3:51 PM

The headline referring to women as girls is so offensive. Don't remember the last time I saw a headline referring to "boys" when talking about high powered men. Give me a break.

Posted by: Beverly Voran | June 26, 2007 11:40 AM

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