Whoopi Wonders: Is Sexism Uniquely American?

NewsBusters.org | Still shot of Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg on the Is sexism strictly an American phenomenon? That’s what Whoopi Goldberg asked to former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers. Appearing on the April 22 edition of "The View" to promote her book "Why Women Should Rule the World," Whoopi, noting that there has never been a female president, framed her question in this fashion.

"Do you think that this issue, this, this idea that women can’t do the same things as men is strictly an American idea or is this a worldwide idea? Because I look at other countries that have women that have run their countries that have women prime ministers and such. So are we just lagging behind a little bit?"

No Whoopi. In fact, in many countries, sexism is far worse. In many Islamic states, a show with four or five women voicing their opinions would not be allowed. "The Daily Telegraph," for example, reported that women in Saudi Arabia have fewer rights than infants in the United States.

"Women in the oil rich kingdom must refer almost every act to a male guardian for permission, including medical treatment, travel and what clothes to wear, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW)."

Walters and Myers exemplified some countries that elected female leaders, but Myers noted that many are parliamentary systems where parliament elects a prime minister rather than the people directly. The former White House press secretary dreamed that one day "the American people would put gender aside and elect a woman."

The relevant transcript is below.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Do you think that this issue, this, this idea that women can’t do the same things as men is strictly an American idea or is this a worldwide idea? Because I look at other countries that have women that have run their countries that have women prime ministers and such. So are we just lagging behind a little bit?

BARBARA WALTERS: Yeah, we have Ireland, Switzerland, Chile, India, and Argentina. Very different countries all have-

DEE DEE MYERS: Right and Liberia-

GOLDBERG: Germany.

MYERS: Germany, a lot, the Philippines. I think there’s a lot of reasons, some of them are cultural. I think some of them have to do with the way we elect presidents. Women have done better in the early stages, in countries where there are like a prime minister because you just have to win among your party in a parliament where it’s harder for women, I think, to be directly elected by the voters. But that’s starting to change in countries like Chile and Liberia where the voters are directly electing more women. And hopefully at some point in the not too distant future, I don’t know if it will happen this time, but sometime soon hopefully the American people will put aside gender and elect a woman. It would be wonderful.