Hoda Kotb Felt ‘Anger’ After Female NBC VPs Weren’t Recognized as Higher-Ups ‘A Long Time Ago’

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Hoda Kotb shared a powerful story about seeing barriers be broken at NBC.

“I remember a long time ago at NBC, there was a table full of vice presidents who were sitting in a restaurant. It was a big NBC event,” Kotb, 59, began the Friday, March 8, episode of Today With Hoda and Jenna. “And the waiter walked up to the table and said, ‘I’m sorry ladies, this is reserved for vice presidents.’ And they said, ‘We are vice presidents.’”

Looking back at the exchange, Kotb remembers “the anger that was going on there in that moment” because the executives felt “singled out.” She continued: “And that wasn’t so many years ago. So, when you think about the strides women have made … women are the ones who figure it out.”

Earlier in her International Women’s Day discussion with cohost Jenna Bush Hager, Kotb expressed confusion over why women often aren’t asked the same questions about their accomplishments as men.

Hoda Kotb’s Ups and Downs Over the Years: Joel Schiffman Split, ‘Today’ Show Absence and More

“I was watching this one woman, she was asked a question on the red carpet, and [she was asked], ‘What question are you tired of people asking you?’ … And she goes, ‘About being a woman director. I’m tired of it,’” Kotb shared. “And I thought about that, like, it’s the same [thing]. We can’t believe we’re asking the same kind of questions.”

Bush Hager, 42, noted that even Kotb must get tired of being asked about her and Savannah Guthrie becoming the first female Today show coanchors. “And you’re like, ‘[I’m] hosting the Today show. Let’s live in that,’” she stated.

Kotb, however, acknowledged that it’s “cool” their kids will grow up knowing it’s not “strange” for women to push boundaries. “But I just find it so crazy that in this day and age, we’re still having these kind[s] of conversations,” she added. (Kotb coparents daughters Haley, 7, and Hope, 4, with ex Joel Schiffman, while Bush Hager shares kids Mila, 10, Poppy, 8, and Hal, 4, with her husband, Henry Hager.)

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. Nathan Congleton/NBC

Following Friday’s Today episode, Kotb attended a Q&A and book signing in New York City for her new children’s book, Hope Is a Rainbow, which is inspired by her youngest daughter. “Thx to @sidjacobsonjcc for hosting and @stephruhle for moderating!” she captioned pics from the event via Instagram. “Thx for the laughs and tears #hopeisarainbow.”

Kotb recently broke her silence on Hope’s 2023 health scare, which resulted in the TV host being absent from Today for two weeks in February. When she returned to the NBC morning show, Kotb revealed her daughter had spent several days in the ICU but did not divulge details about Hope’s condition.

‘Today’ Anchor Hoda Kotb’s Family Album With Daughters, Mother Sameha Kotb and Loved Ones: Photos

“We had a scary stretch,” she told People in an interview published on Wednesday, March 6. “Any parent who’s been through a scary thing with their child understands. It’s like you just can’t believe that your child’s sick. You can’t believe that there’s nothing you can do. You can’t believe that no matter what you do, you can’t will it away or protect her, or all the things that we’re supposed to be doing as parents. And it’s a position I’ve never found myself in.”

Noting that “things have stabilized” since Hope’s hospital stay, Kotb said she wants to keep life “normal” for her little one. “It’s really tricky, because I don’t want Hope to get labeled,” she shared. “She’s a kid who is so vibrant, and most days everything is totally fine. I don’t want people to look at her differently.”


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