Juan Williams Discusses Rise of the American Woman, Changing Culture at Economic Club Lunch

Juan Williams, a veteran journalist now known best for his roles with National Public Radio and Fox News, addressed nearly 700 in attendance at today’s Economic Club of Indiana luncheon in downtown Indianapolis.

Williams, known mostly for his political prowess, delved into the topic of culture and outlined some key points that Americans must recognize as the nation moves forward. For one, he says the growing American population will change the way we interact in the future.

"Right now, the U.S. has over 300 million people — but in 10 years, we’ll have over 400 million," he says. Williams adds that is largely due to the booming growth rates of immigrants.

He also offers some surprise at the increasing power of women in America. While researching for a story on American teens in Minneapolis, he asked a longtime teacher’s aide what was the greatest difference between the 1960s and today. She then explained that out of the very best students, 8 out of 10 were girls, and 5 out of 10 of the best athletes were girls, as well (based on who was likely to compete at a Division I NCAA level).

"Women are now the majority in American graduate programs," Williams adds. "And when John McCain needed help (during the 2008 presidential election), he got Sarah Palin."

He adds there are 16 female U.S. Senators and one-fourth of Congress is female, noting the power of Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

Williams also discussed the rise of political polarization (explaining only 24% of Republicans support the job Pres. Obama is doing versus 88% of Democrats), and is concerned the deterioration of newspapers will only contribute to that as Americans look to media sources that simply validate their previously held opinions.

The Economic Club of Indiana lunch series will head to Merrillville, Evansville and Fort Wayne this summer. Check the web site for details.

Election Day 2008 a Big Day for Women

According to the National Conference of State Legislature’s (NCSL) The Thicket blog, Election Day 2008 was not only a monumental day as America elected its first African-American president, but it also proved to be a big day for women in the "Live Free or Die" state:

The New Hampshire Senate has become the first legislative chamber ever to have a majority of women members. Thirteen of the 24 members of the Senate are women.

Nationwide, women held 24 percent of the state legislative seats coming into last night’s election.  Preliminary indications are that this proportion did not change significantly. 

NCSL also notes that in Indiana, women comprise 21 members in the House and 13 in the Senate. That means women make up 22.7% (34 out of 150) of our state legislature.