Does Bill Clinton Have a Woman Problem?

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Not that kind of woman problem. But potentially a more troubling one. Power journalism couple Susan Glasser and Peter Baker sat down with Clinton recently for a Foreign Policy interview and asked him this question: “Who is the smartest, most penetrating thinker you know?”

Off the top of his head, Clinton named a handful: Paul Krugman. David Brooks. Tom Friedman. Malcolm Gladwell. Robert Wright. Matt Ridley. All interesting writers and thinkers, all smart guys. And all guys.

I feel fairly confident that the former president does read female writers and could rattle off some additional names if specifically asked. But as a woman, it’s always unsettling to see something like this, particularly since there are no satisfying answers to the questions of where all the female writers are and why they’re mostly not in a position to be as widely-read as their male peers. Some of my favorite writers and thinkers are women, but I definitely have to go out of my way to read them because for the most part they are not featured in national newspapers or *ahem* news magazines or even referenced by male writers or columnists.

Foreign Policy‘s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers, by the way, includes just 17 women recognized on their own (Clinton and his wife share a ranking). That’s the same number of women who serve in the U.S. Senate, and only one woman ranks among the top 25 thinkers.

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