I am not even sure I can type this article because I keep thunking my head on my desk over and over and I am starting to get a wee bit woozy, but here goes. During an interview on The Today Show Matt Lauer asked General Motors CEO Mary Barra if she can do her job and be a good mother. You know, this type of question that no one asks any dude ever, if they can be president, or a doctor, or the CEO of an automaker, or a TV show host and be a good father. Time.com has published the transcript:
LAUER: You’re a mom, I mentioned, two kids. You said in an interview not long ago that your kids told you they’re going to hold you accountable for one job and that is being a mom.
BARRA: Correct. (smiling.)
LAUER: Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?
BARRA: You know, I think I can. I have a great team, we’re on the right path…I have a wonderful family, a supportive husband and I’m pretty proud of the way my kids are supporting me in this.
Her reply wasn’t good enough for Matt, so he pressed on:
LAUER: I want to tread lightly here. You’ve heard this, you heard it in Congress. You got this job because you’re hugely qualified, 30 years in this company a variety of different jobs. But some people are speculating that you also got this job because as a woman and as a mom because people within General Motors knew this company was in for a very tough time and as a woman and a mom you could present a softer image and softer face for this company as it goes through this horrible episode. Does it make sense or does it make you bristle?
BARRA: Well it’s absolutely not true. I believe I was selected for this job based on my qualifications. We dealt with this issue — when the senior leadership of this company knew about this issue, we dealt with this issue.
Please keep in mind that Barry has worked at GM for over 30 years, but ya know, she just got the job because moms convey cookies and hugs and maternal niceties. Because she is able to convey a softer side of General Motors. Why didn’t he just ask her if she got the job because Snuggle the fabric softener bear has another gig? Now, for those of you unfamiliar with Barra, please keep in mind that she holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, and she has a Master’s degree in business administration from Stanford. Forbes also listed her as one of the world most powerful women. Also, please keep in mind that an internal investigation about the ignition switch defect that affected 2.6 million cars and killed 13 people was just released, and these are the types of questions Matt is asking about the future of GM. GM recalled about 800,000 cars! The company is facing criminal probes! 13 people died and there has been 31 crashes as a result of the ignition switches and he wants to talk about her status as a GOOD mom?
He says if a man in a high-level job had publicly discussed the issue he’d have “asked him exactly the same thing.”
And I think we all know what the correct response to this is: