Saturday, November 1st4.2°C
21625

'Today' host Matt Lauer says much-criticized question to GM boss Mary Barra not gender-based

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Matt Lauer has no regrets asking General Motors CEO Mary Barra about balancing work and motherhood, saying he sees it as an issue that affects all working parents regardless of their gender.

The host of NBC's "Today" show said Friday he'd welcome the same question if it were put to him. He noted that he missed his son's 13th birthday to be in Detroit for the Barra interview.

He struck a nerve in Thursday's live interview with a question criticized as sexist — no small issue for the host of a network show where women are the bulk of the audience.

"This is one of the major conversations of our generation," Lauer, 56, told The Associated Press. "I view it very differently. I view it not as a gender issue, but as a work-life balance issue."

The question came at the end of a two-part interview primarily about GM's response to safety issues. At first, Lauer asked about reports that one reason Barra got her job was because she could put forth a softer face and image for the company at a difficult time.

He then referenced a Forbes magazine article where Barra said she felt bad about missing her son's junior prom. The boy told her that being mom was the one job he'd hold her accountable for. Lauer asked, "Given the pressure at General Motors, can you do both (jobs) well?"

Lauer had taken to Facebook to defend himself, explaining what inspired the question. Many people who commented on his post weren't buying it, including the author of the Forbes piece, who said she never felt compelled to ask Barra if she felt capable of doing her job.

Neera Tanden, president of the Washington-based Center for American Progress, said she'd love it if Lauer started asking male executives the same question. Women hear it frequently, and it perpetuates a double standard when Lauer brings it up, said Tanden, who tweeted Thursday that women should stop watching Lauer.

"It's a terrible message to young women," she said.

Lauer said he definitely would ask that question of a male executive he had seen publicly questioning his ability to do it all.

"The reason I think that is so important is I am that father," he said. "As I was sitting interviewing Mary Barra about that topic, it was my son's 13th birthday, and I'm sitting in Detroit missing his becoming a teenager. I worry about that every single day: Am I being a good father? I don't think this is an unfair question."

He said he doesn't resent the criticism.

"I take the harsh criticism along with the compliments," he said. "How could I complain about the comments I get and still reserve the right to ask these questions? People have the right to say whatever they want."

___

David Bauder can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.

___

Online:

http://www.nbc.com

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

20759


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14613.32+154.63
S&P CDNX769.59-2.06
DJIA17390.52195.10
Nasdaq4630.742+64.604
S&P 5002018.05+23.40
CDN Dollar0.88750.00
Gold1166.30-32.2999
Oil80.55-0.35
Lumber325.70+2.10
Natural Gas3.715+0.066

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.125+0.015
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.18+0.03
Cantex0.045-0.015
Anavex Life Sciences0.185+0.0139
Metalex Ventures0.03-0.005
Russel Metals32.85+0.63
Copper Mountain Mining2.09+0.12
Colorado Resources0.125-0.015
ReliaBrand Inc0.015+0.003
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05+0.025
Mission Ready Services0.39+0.015

 



23462

FEATURED Property
19693761547 Pinot Gris Drive
3 bedrooms 3 baths
$969,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Empty nesting: financial issues

Now that the children have ‘left the nest’, it is a good time to step back and take stock of your financial situation. Being on your own will probably cut household costs to some extent, b...


Keep your haunted home safe

Eerie sounds, spooky lights and Jack-o’-lanterns aglow—extra efforts at Halloween will keep visitors coming back for both tricks and treats. However, to keep the fun going, it’s imp...


What I learned in China

Photo: ContributedI will never be an expert on China. It is just too big, too complex and too old with layers of history and meaning that would take several lifetimes to unravel. As I said to my hosts...

_



23884

23884


Member of BC Press Council


23910