We asked Terry O'Neill, the new president of the National Organization for Women , what she thought of those Democratic women and others quietly complaining about a "boy's club" atmosphere at the White House, as exemplified by the president playing basketball earlier this month with 11 members of Congress and four Cabinet Secretaries -- all men.
As the New York Times and cable news chatter looked at whether the Obama White House is too fratty yesterday, President Obama brought along a woman golf partner for the first time in his 24 golf outings as president , domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes.
Is this much ado about nothing?
O'Neill says no.
"Relationships get built in those more informal settings," O'Neill told ABC News, "and the relationships have a huge impact on the influence an individual has. We know what happens when we segregated whether it by race or whether it by gender -- you end up with 1st class citizens and you end up with 2nd class citizens."
O'Neill told ABC News' Mike Callahan, "we need to see the White House leading the way for desegregating the work places all around the country and it is troubling."
Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius played basketball for Trinity University in Washington, D.C. The day before the all-male White House hoops game, Jay Leno asked her who might win a game of HORSE between her and the president.
"You know I actually made my college basketball team," she said as the crowd laughed. "I'm not sure he did so you know, bring it on."
Sebelius is #21 below.
In his first year, President Obama has appointed more women to his Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions -- seven out of 22 positions -- than any president before him. President George W. Bush appointed four women to positions of that status; President Bill Clinton appointed six.
But to O'Neill that's not enough.
"It’s extremely important now especially for the president to have as many women as men in his closest circle of advisors. ... If women had been at the heads of the companies on Wall Street instead of these masters of the universe then we might not be in the predicament that we’re in today." She says the ratio "needs to be 50/50. Women are 52 percent of the voting public so obviously there needs to be 50/50 of any Cabinet."