(CBS News) - Condoleeza Rice, Lesley Stahl and Valerie Jarrett shared career experiences, lessons learned and career advice on CBS This Morning.
Rice says the key to women succeeding in the workforce is respect: "when you enter a position of power, you have to want to be respected."
Excerpts of the interview are below.
NORAH O'DONNELL: You know I want to talk about this, because women have been going to college at the same rate as men for 30 years now. We talked yesterday about the lack of women at the top in business, and now let's talk about politics. Valerie, what do you think it is? Do you think it is institutional barriers or is it women holding that are holding themselves back from running for office?
VALERIE JARRETT: Well, it's a range of issues, and I think what we have to find is women who are supporting other women, and you also have to have men in leadership roles that promote women. One reason I think that President Obama has been so effective is that he's surrounded himself and empowered women in key positions both within the White House and also key positions within the administration – Secretary of State, which we obviously know is a powerful position, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Health and Human Services, not to mention the two women on the Supreme Court. And so I think he's trying to do what he can to include women. I think he's doing his part to try to do it, and he says that we would not have the gridlock that we have in Washington if we had more women in Congress.
O'DONNELL: But you know, Valerie, people say that of any administration, President Obama, a liberal Democrat – there are more liberal women than Republican women – that there should be equality in an Obama White House. Why isn't that the case?
JARRETT: Well there is equality in the Obama White House. If you look at the appointments that he's made, both within the White House, in the cabinet and the judicial appointments, there's definitely equality. And he thinks that decision-making is better when you have a diverse group of people surrounding you. So that's what he's done – he's really led by example.
GAYLE KING: You know there's a funny anecdote from a Harvard business professor who was asked, what can men do to advance the cause of women? She said, "the laundry." I think that's a really good answer. But when you look at it, Condoleezza Rice, what is your take on it as to why the numbers don't match up in terms of what women have done?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: I do think the numbers are getting better. If you look at the Senate, we have new women in the Senate, if you look at the fact that three of the last four secretaries of state, or three of the last five, were in fact women. So things are getting better. But I see it in the classroom, even at a place like Stanford. It's very important that women feel that they are accepted in the workplace and that women put themselves out there. I found when I was a young specialist in international security, had I been waiting for a female, black, Soviet-specialist role model, I would still be waiting. And indeed the people who advocated for my career were white men; in fact they were old white men, because they dominated the field.
KING: I've been hearing that things are getting better for such a long time.
RICE: But they are. And I do think that women – there are barriers, we still have gender definition. When a woman walks into a room, people see certain aspects. My good friend, the late astronaut Sally Ride, often talked about the degree to which if a woman puts herself forward in science and math, she's not quite ready. So it's a combination, as Valerie said. It's women putting themselves forward and it's also men being more accepting.
O'DONNELL: Lesley, you've had a front-row seat to history, certainly covering the White House for the first time and at 60 MINUTES, and interviewing the most powerful people in the world. What's your take as to why women have not reached the top level in proportionate numbers, if you will?
LESLEY STAHL: Well, if you really step back and go back to when the women's movement really started, the gains are astronomical. They're astonishing, what we've accomplished. I was thinking of the big companies, Yahoo, Lockheed Martin – we have many women running companies, we have many women at the pinnacle, almost, of power. These two women that you have this morning have been at the decision-making level, which is huge. I think this is a huge coup to have the two of these women sitting here who have been helping make decisions at the very top. It's huge what's happened. And yet when you're living it, it feels slow.
KING: Because of the numbers – 535 seats, only 97 are women, that's 18%. It does feel slow.
STAHL: It's one of the great revolutions of our lifetime. It's huge what happened in the late 20th century. But you know I'm sitting here – I think there's two questions – why aren't more women being elected, and then what would happen if they got there? Would there be this gridlock?
O'DONNELL: What is it about women that there wouldn't be gridlock if there were more?
JARRETT: I think women strive for consensus, they collaborate better, they don't mind compromising, I think they're reasonable.
RICE: To a certain extent. But I think women in positions of power, and Valerie, you know this, you have to have the whole set of tools in your toolbox. Sometimes you can compromise and build consensus, and sometimes you have to say no, we're doing this differently. And you have to be tough. So I think women have to have the whole tool set.
KING: Listen, speaking of tougher, on all three of you – recent study when they talk about women, that it's hard to be competent and liked at the same time. With you Valerie, you've been described as tenacious and strong. Condoleezza, you've been described as confrontational and ruthless. Lesley Stahl, you've been described as very tough and a bulldog. So do you think that women have to be tough to succeed in a male-dominated role? And is it important to you to be liked?
STAHL: That's such a great question. I do think women are different from men. I think this need to be liked is something that's holding younger women back, going back to college.
RICE: Yes, everyone wants to be liked. Men sometimes just hide it better, that they want to be liked. But when you enter a position of power, you have to want to be respected. And every woman should understand that, from the youngest women to the most senior, the key is to be respected.
O'DONNELL: We are interviewing Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, for Sunday's 60 MINUTES – it's my first interview for 60 MINUTES. Valerie, you were someone who recommended that I should speak with Sheryl Sandberg as someone to do a story on many years ago. And in her book she talks about the success and likeability are positively correlated for men, but negatively correlated for women – that the more powerful a woman gets, the less she is liked. Do you think that that's true?
JARRETT: I don't know whether I would agree with that completely. I think that the most important thing is being respected. And I think if you work hard on earning respect and being decent, then you'll also be liked. But you really have to start with being respected. And that means though that you do treat people well. And if you do that, that works to your benefit.
KING: What would you tell women today that you wish someone had told you back when you were starting?
RICE: I wish someone had told me that my own sense of unease about whether I really belonged was shared by everybody in the room, including my male colleagues, but they hid it better, they covered it better. And not to be afraid to put yourself out there. I tell young women, if you get to the place that we are and someone treats you badly because you're a woman, that's your fault, not theirs, because you have plenty of arrows in your quiver by this time. For younger women, find someone who can help you navigate and understand the cues, because it is unnerving particularly if you are in a field that is male-dominated like the one I entered, international security policy.
JARRETT: But you can't let the fear of failure stop you from trying. And I think so many times women wait for permission – you can't do that. You have to put yourself out there, you have to have a tough skin, you have to be able to accept rejection and get back up and bounce back in the game.
STAHL: I just want to add one thing. This bounces off Sheryl's point about young women when they want to start to either want to have a family or do have family, and that's the obligation of mothers. Mothers need to tell their daughters that they can do it all.
JARRETT: But not at the same time, sometimes. I think that life is full of trade-offs and you can't necessarily do everything at one time. I think about the job I have now at the White House – it would be really hard for me to do that when my daughter was young.