10/23/2007 02:16 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Adding Women Changes Everything at Meet The Press

As I watched Meet The Press this Sunday, I noticed something unusual. And it wasn't the interview with "presidential candidate" Stephen Colbert. It was the roundtable discussion that followed his interview that caught my attention.

This political discussion panel, which is usually comprised of almost entirely of men, instead featured historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, journalists Kate O'Beirne and Judy Woodruff and author Sally Bedell Smith.

A few years ago, my organization, The White House Project, published a report called "Who's Talking," which highlighted the lack of women guests on the Sunday morning talk show circuit. Our research found that women comprise only 14 percent of guest appearances on these shows. Since that time, Meet the Press and other major talk shows have taken strides to rectify the situation and include more women opinion makers, journalists and experts. Sunday's show demonstrated what happens when you add women to the conversation: the discussion becomes anything but standard conventional wisdom-speak.

While the four women spent time addressing Sen. Clinton's campaign, one of the most important observations made during this discussion was about the enormous changes her candidacy has brought to the political dialogue. As pointed out by the panel, overnight male presidential candidates have started talking about women's issues.

During the last two presidential campaigns, women have struggled to get any attention for the issues that differentially affect them. There was almost a fear of the "W word" even when women ran the campaigns of the candidates.

Now every male presidential candidate's campaign website is talking about and talking to women. This shift in dialogue cannot be understated. There are many, many ways in which having a woman as a frontrunner is lifting the issue of women's leadership to the forefront, inspiring girls and educating boys about what girls can be and what boys can respect.

The currency we now have with men actually seeking our vote and talking about our visions is fabulous. Women need to take that to the bank.