BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Albright: Lift 'foreign' presidents bar
Albright: Woman among the men at a G8 meeting
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wants to open the door for foreign-born Americans to become US president.

The birthplace bar has prevented herself and other high-flyers, including German-born former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, from going for the top job.

I do believe that there will be a woman president sooner rather than later

Madeleine Albright
Ms Albright - who was born in Czechoslovakia - says the ban is out of date.

The US's first woman secretary of state said: "With the changing demography in this country, people that have not been born here ought to have the opportunity to serve at the highest level."

She made her remarks in a discussion on women in politics in New York.

Although she thinks she is as likely to become US president as she was "to be a pole-vaulter in Sydney" she does believe that there will be a woman president "sooner rather than later".

Madeleine Albright
Born Marie Korbelova, Prague, 1937
Diplomat father took family to London at start of World War II
1948: Family moved to Denver, Colorado
1997: Appointed secretary of state
"I think we all have to work for that to happen, because there are remarkable women...This is a lack in our country in many ways."

Ms Albright, who is expected to leave her post in January after four years as secretary of state, has denied reports that she would be interested in the presidency of the Czech Republic, saying that she is fully committed to the United States.

Powerful women

Ms Albright said it could be easier for a woman to establish personal friendships with the male foreign ministers she had to negotiate with, sometimes after tough discussions.

Albright with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov: She said she found foreign men easier to deal with
When she took the job in 1997, some people wondered whether Arab leaders, unaccustomed to women in politics, would treat her with respect, but she said this had never been a problem.

"I find American men more difficult to deal with than the foreign men, because for the foreign men I represent the United States and they deal with me on that basis," she said.

A woman also tended to "approach things differently and integrate them more", Ms Albright added.

Women should take more interest in foreign policy, as the agenda moved away from the issues of the Cold War and towards a broader agenda which includes health and Aids, she said.

"They (women) may not be interested in whom to bomb but they are interested in knowing how foreign policy impacts our daily lives."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

09 Apr 99 | kosovo strikes
Madeleine Albright: Haunted by history
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories