Last night Anderson Cooper aired a piece called "Breaking Into the Boys' Club" about "the gender wage gap at work" -- in honor of the hoopla re The Shriver Report. He interviewed Suze Orman, some female poker champion, Dee Dee Meyers (Clinton's former press secretary), and a female neurosurgeon -- of which there are very few in America.
But before the interviews, Cooper says, "But first, the facts..." at which point CNN's Erica Hill proceeds to report on the story. Here, she says, are the facts:
"Fewer than 3% of women are at the helm of America's major corporations, and the women who are make 58 cents for every dollar a man makes."
"There's no denying the road to equality is a long one. And there is much more work to be done."
Hill then interviews Carol Evans, CEO of Working Mother magazine (who, as it happens, CNN used to ambush me in a television interview five years ago), who says this: "The boys' club is still pretty much intact. You wouldn't see those differences between men and women at the top if there wasn't still an old boys' club."
Uh, yes, Ms. Evans, you would. The differences between men and women -- which, I'm afraid, play out in the workplace as well -- have been there forever and are the real reason for the wage gap in America.
After Ms. Evans, the show shoots back over to Cooper and the other ladies. Suze Orman's argument is basically that women are too "others" oriented. They don't make enough demands or speak up for themselves enough in the business world -- which I have no doubt is true. And Dee Meyers provides the standard liberal argument that "we must teach our girls to be proud of themselves" or whatever -- as if young girls are routinely dismissed and are "put in their place" at a young age.
But the neurosurgeon, Dr. Firlick, was the most interesting and honest woman on the panel. Cooper came right out and asked her why more women don't become neurosurgeons, and she basically said "because of the hours." Something like 100 hours a week are required (though lately it's been more "family-friendly" she said -- 80 hours!)
Essentially this doctor was admitting that more women don't choose this profession because THEY DON'T WANT THAT LIFE (without actually saying it the way I would, of course). But that wasn't enough for Cooper; he had to drill home the idea of discrimination, as all good Lefties do.
"But there's still a bias, isn't there?" he asks.
"There can be. Usually, though, it's a matter of first impression. Once you show you can walk the walk and talk the talk they'll see you as just another guy -- so to speak."
In other words, it is possible to "make it in a man's world" after all? Who woulda thunk it, in the 21st century?
Then the doctor goes on to say that if you do find yourself the target of someone who thinks you're not capable as a woman, you can "walk out and protest or you can have a sense of humor about it and come up with a funny rebuttal. I think that can be more powerful."
Indeed, what it really comes down to is attitude. There is nothing holding women back. There is no more "work to be done." There are simply women with the right attitude and women with the wrong attitude. And those with the right attitude will always succeed.
I have no doubt, of course, that this went right over CNN's head.
TOMORROW: Why I'm Grateful for Obama