A very recent study from the US shows that women are hugely under-represented in congressional hearings. In 2011 only 43 per cent of these hearings included female witnesses. Congressional hearings normally have three to five witnesses (and sometimes up to ten). The odd nature of this finding is emphasised by the fact that women own or half-own 46 per cent of all businesses in the US. An inference that one could possibly draw from this evidence is that congressional hearings have limited perspectives on the subject they are discussing .
In a recent publication by the Brookings Institute, ‘Competencies for the 21st century’, the importance of these competencies has been stressed. As it explains, ‘The