Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  August 17, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

3:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, the fallout continues-- the u.s. negotiates with the taliban to secure safe passage for americans leaving the country, as the insurgent group explains how they will govern. then, the fight for rights-- prominent activist and former afghan government official kamila sidiqi discusses the precarious road ahead for women living in afghanistan, as the taliban vows to respect them. >> people are afraid a lot, but let's see if they can be different. we will see from their action. >> woodruff: and, getting the vaccine-- the biden administration is set to
3:01 pm
announce vaccinated americans will soon need a booster shot, as the delta variant continues to surge across the country. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> architect. bee-keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life, well-planned. >> our u.s.-based customer service team is on hand to help. to learn more, go to
3:02 pm
>> the john s. and james l. knight foundation. fostering informed and engaged communities. more at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
3:03 pm
>> woodruff: the evacuations are resuming, and some wary calm >> woodruff: the taliban cemented their hold on power in afghanistan today. and they began to speak in detail about their plans for the country. evacuations of civilians also resumed, and the top american general in the middle east visited the kabul airport to observe american military operations. now with nearly 4,000 t 4,000 troops on the ground. still, in the city, there is fear and panic as to what the future brings. again with the support of the pulitzer center, our jane ferguson is in kabul. >> reporter: relative calm prevailed over kabul this morning, a day after chaos gripped the afghan capital's international airport. in the taliban's first news conference since they overran the country, spokesman zabiullah mujahid, who has never shown his
3:04 pm
face publicly until today, sat down with afghan and intl journalists. the messaging was clear: a second taliban government would be a softer, more globally acceptable one. this was the friendly face of e movement. >> reporter: with an interpreter translating the spokesman's words into english, he announced a pardon for those they once called traitors. >> we are assuring the safety of all those who have worked with the united states and allied forces, whether as interpreters or any other field when they worked with them. >> reporter: he promised the taliban would respect women's rights under islamic law. >> women will be afforded all their rights, whether it is in work or other activities, because women are a key part of society. we are guaranteeing all their rights within the limits of islam. >> reporter: but when the taliban last ruled, and in areas under their control over the last 20 years, women have had their rights severely restricted. they could not take most jobs or go to school. while the taliban have pushed to consolidate their control here
3:05 pm
of the capital, today in a dramatic twist, we also heard from the former vice president amrullah saleh, releasing a statement via twitter, saying that he considers himself to now be the president of afghanistan because the former president has stepped down and left the country, that he is still in afghanistan and plans to oppose the taliban rule. >> i am standing for my country and the war is not over. >> reporter: in january, saleh told the newshour he'd rather die than submit to the taliban. he and the son of famed militia leader ahmad shah masoud are apparently trying to organize armed resistance in the panjshir valley, north of kabul. in washington, u.s. military officials say order at the airport has been restored, at least for the moment. >> we are confident we have taken the right steps to resume safe and orderly operations at the airport. >> reporter: at the white house this afternoon, national security adviser jake sullivan again defended the president's withdrawal decision. he also said a deal was struck
3:06 pm
with the taliban to ensure safe passage to the airport, but he expressed fear for the future of the country's women. >> truly, deeply, my heart goes out to afghan women and girls. today under the taban. we've seen what they have done before. and that's a very hard thing for any that's a very hard thing for any of us to face. this wasn't a choice just between saving those women and girls. the alternative choice had its own set of human costs and consequens, as i said. and those human costs and consequences would have involved a substantial ramp-up of american participation in a civil war with more loss of life and bloodshed. >> will the u.s. government commit to ensuring that any americans currently on the ground in afghanistan get out? >> that's what we're doing right now. we have asked them all to come to the airport to get on flights and take them
3:07 pm
home. that's what we en intend to do. >> reporter: the u.s. >> reporter: as the u.s. defends its withdrawal and tries to manage the disaster on the ground, reaction came in from allies and adversaries across the globe. in brussels, nato secretary jens stoltenberg said evacuating personnel is the top priority right now. but, like president biden, he blamed the afghan government for e rapid collapse of the country. >> why didn't the forces we trained and equipped and supported over so many years, why were they not able to stand up against the taliban in a stronger and better way than they did? >> reporter: china blamed the u.s. for the bedlam it says was caused by a hasty pull out of american military forces. in greece, where many afghan refugees currently live, the government has warned it cannot take in a new wave of migrants. ghan refugees on the island of lesbos tay protested against the taliban. afghans who choose not to stay under taliban rule, now face the painful question of where to next.
3:08 pm
>> woodruff: and jane ferguson joins us now from kabul. >> where, again, it is very late at night. so, jane, what did you make of this taliban news conference? >> we really need to look, judy, at this press conference from a wider perspective. the very fact that it took place nds a message. we had, as you saw there, an english translator. the first question was taken from a female journalist. they were even simply acknowledging the press and the international press. the messaging here was very much so that we are here to engage the international community. you know, and we could even surprise you. we have to remember that the taliban now finds themselves with a country to govern. they wanted the international community, the aid agencies, and the diplomats to stay, and
3:09 pm
they'll be, of course, reliant on a huge amount of international aid. and the messaging coming from this and the atmospheric situation around it, acknowledging the press and the international press really sends that strong message, that this branding they want to show that they are somehow changed, that they're softer, and much more internationally acceptable version of the taliban. >> woodruff: so tell us a little more about some of the specificshat they spoke of, and in particular with regard to women and women's rights. >> well, they weren't as specific as i think many of the journalists in the room would have liked to have heard. they have been saying for some time, and we put these questions to the taliban several times as well, how do they view women's rights ging forward? they wouldn't get into specifics of legalities, on what rights specifically women will ve or be allowed to keep, because women do have a legal framework of
3:10 pm
rights in afghanistan. but they did, instead, gave their usual answer, which is that the women would have rights within an islamic framework. and that's an incredibly vague. they specifically addressed some of the jobs they thought women should have, such as working in the judiciary, or working in government ministries. i think it was very much a pushback against criticism of them, where people have said if you're separating women, and not encouraging em to work, what about all of these influential positions they could have in afghanistan. they said, we will not allow afghanistan to post any international groups or fighters that could launch attacks on other countries. that's very important, that they brought this up, because that's very much the message for the international community, and probably a message for america because those words are taken almost verbatim from the deal
3:11 pm
that president trump's white house signed with the -- or his government signed with the taliban back in 2000. so basically they're saying that -- they're messaging the americans, saying we're not going to allow al-qaeda to launch attacks abroad again. that's a very significant sort of specific they did bring up. >> woodruff: which raises the question, jane, of their credibility. do afghan citizens believe the taliban when they speak? >> well, the difficulty here, judy, is whenever you hear words versus actions, there is a major divergence. almost every subject that the taliban brought up, every point they made that was designed to put the international community's worries at rest, is not really seen in their actions. and it is very much a divergence from the reality on the ground. they can talk about women's rights, about how
3:12 pm
they want women to go to school and have jobs. but if we look at the areas of afghanistan that they have controlled during the last 20 years during the war, that is simply not happening. women are not going to school. girls are not going to school. and women do not have influential jobs. they said they would not interact retribution, there will be no retribution against anyone who fought within the afghan security services. we know they have been assassinatiocompaigns, specifically against pilots. they even said afghanistan -- tt they're opposed to narcotics and drugs are bad and they shouldn't be produced or sold in the country. and we know of course there is a group heavily involved in the heroin trade. many people don't take them at their word. they believe much of this is branding, that it is designed to sort of rebrand the group as a group that cannot only run
3:13 pm
a country, but be internationally engaged. and i think that fear that people can't trust them is why we have seen thousands rushing to the airport trying to get out of tz country. country. >> woodruff: you mentioned the former president, a mounting of force to oppose the taliban, is that a real resistance? >> at this stage it is not clear. we know in the panshir valley, which has traditionally been a spot of resistance against the taliban, the only holdout during the taliban's last government, so it resonates in history in afghanistan. it is not really clear. it is unlikely people will take him seriously as an acting president of the entire country. but that doesn't mean it couldn't be the beginning of at least some form of insurgency here and a small holdout against the taliban. >> woodruff: jane ferguson reporting for us once again from kabul. jane, please stay safe. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: and so
3:14 pm
>> woodruff: so what should the world make of the promises the taliban made today? lisa desjardins picks up the story from here. >> desjardins: and for that we get two views. ali jalali was afghanistan's minister of the interior from 2003 to 2005 and afghanistan's ambassador to germany from 2016 to 2018. he was a military officer in the afghan national army when the soviets invaded and was a military planner in e resistance against the soviets. he's now a distinguished professor at the national defense university in washington, d.c. and torek farhadi was an advisor to the governor of the central bank of afghanistan and, a senior economic advisor to former afghan president hamid karzai. he is now an independent analyst. i want to start off with something that jane fergon reported. the taliban is fighting on the field of public relations, using buzz words, things like "in
3:15 pm
"inclusive." torek farhadi, what do you think it means and is it having an affect? >> the afghan people are in a kind of war. and we arrive in some ways at the best of all solutions available. if we have put all of the options next to each other, we arrive at the best one. for the couple of past years, the u.s. has tried to create an environment for negotiations. here what happens is that the former regime collapsed, the taliban have come in, they have occupied kabul. and they have established peace. not a bullet has been fired in kabul. and now they are even ready to talk to each other, to others, in order to establish a government. they haven't been in a hurry to establish their government. it looks like qatar and all of the countries that
3:16 pm
have mediated are encouraging them to talk to other people, and two of the leaders, hamid karzai and dr. abdullah, issued a small video message saying they're in touch with the taliban. so the conversation is going, the tone is pof, positive, and there is mutual respect. i don't expect mr. karzai or mr. abdullah to be part of the taliban government, but they will be respected elders. and some day they might even be part of the council, or as we call it, "shura." >> lisa: ali jalali, a positive tone we just heard, and we just heard from torek farhadi, the best of all possible solutions. do you agree with that, about what the taliban is doing right now? >> yes. you know, it all depends on how you interpret these
3:17 pm
rhetorics into actions. people have very bad memories from the time that the taliban were in power. and later on in the areas that they controlled, about their behavior. so people are in the mood of shock and anxiety and uncertainty about what is going to happen. i think the people i spoke with, they want any government to come soon so that the people will have their normal life. and that will take some time. but immediately, now, people are concerned about their daily lives. the banks are closed and people cannot withdraw their money. the prices are high, and the services are non-existent. these are the concerns of people. but later on i think people will see how these rhetorics of taliban will be translated into
3:18 pm
actions. and that's what people will decide. >> lisa: and now my question to both of you is about the actions, is something that judy just asked jane. the taliban is saying they want to end the drug trade. they will keep terrorists from attacking other countries. they want to raise the right of women according to the islamic law. can the taliban be trusted? first to you, torek farhadi. >> again, we hav no choice: the taliban or defacto in kabul, they are occupying the presidential palace. they gave the press conference from there. their tone was very, very conciliatory. they sent messages to foreign embassies, saying we will ensure your security. russia, china, turkey, and pakistan will keep their embassies open, as well as iran. these are the regional players. it's important, the regional players. and the united states has
3:19 pm
said we will stay in touch with the taliban after august 31st. there might be that the united states also might agree to leave very skinny presence there, if the relationship improves between now and then. the taliban have to pronounce some words, also. they have said that they would like to give the rights of women under islam. but they need to say that they agree to the charter of human rights of the united nations. they have to speak a little bit the international language. but the regional powers will engage with taliban, although everyone right now is saying we will decide together. but it is most probable that china will recognize taliban. at some point russia will recognize taliban. and my view is that the united states is in a better position if it recognizes taliban so that the aid it provides in any
3:20 pm
case to afghanistan goes without problems of sanctions, etc., that the u.n. provides -- the u.n. is financed by the united states. i think the united states, by engaging with taliban, will have more leverage over taliban. and if the united states doesn't engage with taliban, we are manufacturing a non-state actor. and then dealing with a non-state actor is always problematic, and we will blame ourselves if something happens in that territory because we created a non-state actor. >> lisa: ali jalali, should the united states recognize the taliban? >> one thing you have said many times that they will recognize any government, that they actually observe the international laws, the human rights, and we will see if the taliban actually, you know, live up to the promises that
3:21 pm
they've made. currently in their public statements, they say the right things. but it depends what will happen when they establish themselves more. now they are not in a situation that they actuly can make, you know, statements that can -- that causes them to lose their international support. on the other hand, the one thing that is very impressive: the discipline of their fighters, that when they entered kabul and other areas, they actually had acted they did in the right way in treating the people in a more, you know, acceptable way. so i don't know what will happen in the future once they establish themselves. if the last words are for
3:22 pm
winning international recognition and support, or it is that there is going to be a change of policy or a change of their behavior from the past. i think several times they said that their ideology is the same. how they interpret it, that's the problem because they are not talking about specific things. they are talking about women's rights, but within the context of the islamic law, the sharia. how they are going to practically implement that. >> lisa: so many questions. a lot we need to wait and see. and, of course, so many people on the ground for whom this is life and death at this moment. thank you both, ali jalali, and torek farhadi. thank you. >> woodruff: and we've been hearing the plight of women and girls in afghanistan. it is now
3:23 pm
among the most important, and concerning, focuses now that the taliban have taken over. now, with the help of author gayle tzemach lemmon, stephanie sy tells us the story of a woman who persevered under the taliban; flourished over the last 20 years; and escaped the taliban's return just 48 hours ago. >> sy: on the streets of kabul, there is defiance amid despair. a few afghan women in front of the presidential palace, demanding that the taliban protect their rights. elsewhere in the capitol there are few, if any women on the streets. the u.n. says 80% of the 250,000 people internally displaced in afghanistan since may have been women and children. the lucky ones, if you can call them that, have left the country, including entrepreneur kamila sidiqi. newshour contributor gayle tzemach lemmon wrote a book about her, “the dressmaker of khair khana,” nearly a decade ago. >> what comes next for you? >> sy: last friday, lemmon
3:24 pm
interviewed kamila from her home in kabul as the taliban edged closer. >> you said you want to come back to afghanistan, you want to stay in afghanistan, you say you want to stay and be part of your country's future, but how hard is that for you personally? >> it's really hard for me, especially since tonight, that everybody called me, my friends and my colleagues and my family members and ask me that, why you're not leaving. you have to leave kabul. >> sy: she spoke to kamila again this morning. she had fled afghanistan over the weekend as the taliban overran kabul. >> how do you feel right now, you've just landed from afghanistan? >> no hope, right now i'm so sad because the majority of my friends, family, the activists, everybody is in kabul and everybody want to leave the country. >> sy: gayle spoke to kamila six years ago while she was visiting washington as deputy chief of staff for the afghan president.
3:25 pm
>> is there anything that gives you concern or things that keep you up at night worrying about the future? >> security, security of my country, especially those people that they are living in the very remote area and very different provinces, that there is no good life for a woman. >> sy: kamila has lived under taliban oppression before. >> what do you think this taliban will be like? they're telling the international community they are different and they're going to allow women and girls. >> people are afraid a lot, but let's see if they can be different. we will see from their action and we will see there was a lot interview from different taliban and they ask people to go back to their offices. >> sy: promises made are not the same as promises kept, but there are signs of change. afghan news outlet tolo news resumed coverage today with women anchors, including one who
3:26 pm
interviewed a taliban spokesman. that scenario would have been unimaginable in the late 1990s under taliban control then, the group implemented their own interpretation of islamic law. women were not allowed twork or leave the home without a male escort. in 2001, the taliban fell and women like kamila were largely responsible for rebuilding the country. >> today, we have a lot of opportunity. if someone wants to establish a business, it's very easy to go and register a company and do a business. >> sy: today a member of the taliban said there would be no gender discriminatn under their rule this time. >> ( translated ): the sta of the islamic emirate of afghanistan towards women is clear. the islamic emirate of afghanistan has never had a discriminative statement and never expressed gender discrimination. unfortunately, there are false rumors going around that are not accurate. >> sy: but in recent years, the
3:27 pm
taliban has assassinated female public figures in afghanistan, like judges. and there are new reports of women being taken out of school and high-profile women being detained in recent days. shop owners are painting over images of women out of fear of taliban retribution. safer in germany for now, kamila has a message for the rest of e world. do you think the international community fought hard enough to protect women and girls in all of this? >> i wish because this time right now, the experience that we have from two, three days, everybody left us. i don't know where is international people, because we and the woman that they are living in kabul, they are very sad from international community and also from the world. >> sy: as the taliban flag rose over major afghan cities this week, kamila and thousands of others feel abandoned. for the pbs newshour, i'm stephanie sy.
3:28 pm
>> woodruff: in the day's other news, u.s. health officials are on the verge of recommending covid booster shots for all americans regardless of age. the white house says an announcement is coming tomorrow. published reports say boosters would be given roughly eight months after the second dose of the pfizer or moderna vaccines. meanwhile, chicago and new mexico have ordered mask-wearing in all indoor places, regardless of vaccination status. and texas governor greg abbott, who strongly opposed mask mandates, has tested positive. he has been vaccinated and says hehas no symptoms. 'll focus on the booster shot issue rider right after in haiti, tropical storm "grace" swept through overnight, deepening the suffering in the wake of saturday's deadly
3:29 pm
earthquake. harsh winds and up to 15 inches of rain battered the country as hospitals were still overwhelmed with thousands of people injured in the quake. others left homeless spent a long, miserable night before the rain finally ended this morning. >> ( translated ): the rain fell on top of us. we slept sitting down on chairs. nobody has come to help us. we have no tarpaulins, we sleep here sitting down. i don't want to go home. i am in god's hands. >> ( translated ): it's not good here by the coast. my home was destroyed. i have nothing, nothing to use to sleep. look, there's lots of children here. i really have nothing. >> woodruff: the earthquake has left more than 30,000 families displaced from their homes. tropical stormgrace" is powering up again after crossing haiti, and forecasters say it will grow into a hurricane as it heads for mexico's yucatan peninsula. meanwhile, the remnants of
3:30 pm
tropical storm "fred" spawned tornadoes and dumped heavy rain across the southeastern u.s. today. thousands lost electricity in the florida panhandle, after it came ashore monday. firefighters in northern california labored today to save a town from the giant "dixie" fire. strong winds have fanned the flames within eight miles of susanville, home to some 18,000 people. the fire has been burning more than a month and has spread across more than 940 square miles. it is still only about a third contained. in economic news, factory output rose 1.4% in july, the most in four months. but, retail sales fell one percent as the latest vid surge spooked shoppers. the sales drop weighed on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average lost 282 points to close at 35,343. the nasdaq fell 137 points,
3:31 pm
nearly 1%. the s&p 500 gave up 31. and a passing of note: maki kaji, who created the popular number puzzle "soduko," has died of bile duct cancer. he came up with "sudoko" in japan in the 1980's, and the puzzle eventually became a global hit. maki kaji was 69 years old. still to come on the newshour: why vaccinated americans will soon need booster shot in the battle against the delta variant. swimming champion katie ledecky reflects on her experience at the tokyo olympics. and tennis legend billie jean king discusses the ongoing fight for equality.
3:32 pm
>> woodruff: tomorrow the biden administration plans to recommend coronavirus booster vaccinations for americans starting eight months after they received their second shot. william brangham joins me to explain who is affected. >> woodruff: so hello, william. what we are told is that the government is going to say that everybody who had the pfizer or the moderna vaccine, and that's, what, over 100 million americans? that's a lot of people. they are going to recomend they have this booster. what is behind this? >> the rationale is two front: one is the delta variant, which is sickening people a filling hospitals, largely unvaccinated people -- and the second is a small number of studies that are
3:33 pm
showing that the two vaccines, the mrna vaccines are slightly waning in their efficacies, going from 90 plus% to 50%. that waning of efficacy is about your ability to get incted. we still believe these vaccines are very good at protecting you from getting sick and going to the hospital. but they're showing at about six months that the vaccines are starting to fade in their protection. the idea if you'd get a booster, you'd get one more shot of the vaccine you took originally, and that would extend your protection and ramp up your protection. the c.e.o. of pfizer, albert borla, said that studies within the company themselves, a third dose boosted the protection by 10-fold. so that's the rationale. >> woodruff: 10-fold. so when, william, would this booster shot be offered? >> the biden
3:34 pm
administration tomorrow is going to say we think this is a good idea. shots won't actually be going out until the f.d.a. formally approves those. that could come relatively soon. so that could be in the fall. it is expected for people who have gotten the j & j vaccine, they, too, will get the recommendation for a booster. not right away. the government is waiting on another trial for them. if the f.d.a. approves this come fall or next month, it is likely we would go through the same der of vaccinations of boosters, for the elders and the health care workers and then the rest of us. >> woodruff: there is this argument made out there by a number of people that it doesn't make sense for the united states and other wealthy countries to be giving a third covid when so much of the rest of the world has barely even begun to have access to vaccinations at all. >> that's exactly right, judy. this is an argument you hear many people make. most recently maria
3:35 pm
vonkirko of the w.h.o. has said there is a limited amount of vaccines. so if we're going to deploy them, what is the most affective way to do it? the w.h.o. and others argue it is epidemiologically and morally inappropriate to give it to westerners, who have already been vaccinated, when so much of the rest of the world has not been vaccinated. this is how variants get created, when you have the virus ruing rampant in the world, and new variants come out. i recently asked this to dr. fauci when he was on the show. how do we balance this: the desire for boosters with a world that needs more vaccines. and here iswhat he had to say. >> doctor: i believe we can do both, and we are on the pathway to doing that. the united states is leading the world as far as getting doses to other
3:36 pm
countries, particular low and middle-income countries. we've now given about 110 million doses to 60 countries. having said that, i don't think that is enough. and we don't think that is enough. so we're going to try and push and work with the companies to expand their capacity to get billions of doses to people. i think as we do that, at the same time that we can get booster doses to the people in this country who need it. bottom line: i believe you can do both. >> that is the administration's argument, that they can do both: give boosters who if needed and supply to the rest of the world. as i was mentioning, the w.h.o. and many others argue that the current vaccines, the protection that we all have right now, still gives great protection to the most serious outcomes from covid-19. we're not going to go to the hospital, and we're very likely not going to die if we've been vaccinated. given that, shouldn't we
3:37 pm
be focusing more on a global equity issue? but those arguments do not seem to be winning the day. we know that israel has already started to vaccinate people with a third dose, and germany and france, and it seems like the biden administration will start doing that here. >> woodruff: and it raises questions of how many doses will be available and how quickly. william brangham, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: seven-time olympic gold medalist and record- breaking swimmer, 24-year-old katie ledecky is one of the most decorated olympic athletes from the tokyo games. she won the first-ever women's 1500 meter freestyle in tokyo. and she won gold in the 800- meter, and two more silver medals in the games, bringing her career tal to ten. katie ledecky is here with me in our studio.
3:38 pm
>> woodruff: and welcome and congratulations! and you're wearing four of those medals from tokyo. are you still on cloud nine? >> i am. i am. it is great to be back in the u.s. and to be with family and friends and to just share all of the memories with them. >> woodruff: and they look heavy. so right off the bat, how heavy are they? >> they are. you felt it earlier. it is always shocking to people how heavy they are. it is fun to bring them around to schools or anywhere and have people feel how heavy they are. >> woodruff: it is so exciting, what you did in tokyo. and yet we were all conscious, there was no there as a spectator. you were there with your coach and teammates. did that affect what were you able to do, do you think? >> i think i was surprised about how normal it did feel. i had my teammates in the stands cheering when they
3:39 pm
didn't have races orhey were done competing. i think team u.s.a. was the loudest at the pool. it was nice to look in the stands and see some familiar faces that are supporting you. >> woodruff: i'm asking you because you're used to hearing cheering, screaming fans out there from one end of the pool to the other. >> yeah. i mean, it waslso tough not having family there. and i made sure to video call my family in between races when i could. i had the short moments and there was a time difference, but we snuck it in. >> woodruff: i was looking in at some of what was written about you're winning the 1500 metre free style. the first time that has been there for the women at the competition. thinking 15 minutes plus of swimming your heart out. how hard is it? >> it is a challenging race. but it was so great that it was finally in the olympics. there are so many women that didn't have that opportunity, and it has been a long time coming. so for the u.s. to go one,
3:40 pm
two in that event for the first time it was there, it was incredible. it was the best we could do. >> woodruff: and i was also reading, katie ledecky, what you said about what is the secret sauce, i mean, how do you year after year, olympic after olympic, keep doing what you're doing? and you came back with a very straightforward answer, and you said it is practice. i think a lot of people would say, so hard work? how inspirational can that be? >> yeah. everyone is always trying to find out what the secret is. but there really isn't a secret. it is a lot of hard work over many, many years. not just from myself, but from my coaches, my teammates, my family, everyone that has helped me get to this point. it is not just the 15 minutes that'm in that race in the 1500. it is hours and hours every week for five years, from rio to tanal, and the many years before that. >> woodruff: there was a lot of attention at the
3:41 pm
games to simone biles, and what she said about opting out of some of the events in order to deal with her mental health. it is not something we often hear from the most successful athletes. how do you think about all of that? >> yeah, well, mental health is super important, and it goes hand-in-hand with physical alth. we talked a lot about health as a whole over the past year and a lf. i think it is important to continue to talk about, and eam athletes of humans, too, and we experience very similar things to everybody. i don't thk it is jus an athletic problem, but you see everyone in society have different challenges, and everyone has to support each other to get to where you want to get if you have those big goals. and a lot of people do have big goals. it takes a balanced approach to reach thse goals and a lot of support. you have to rely on your support system. and it was great to see that simone and many other
3:42 pm
athletes at the games were able to do that successfully. >> woodruff: you've been doing this now for a number of years. do you think women athletes have it tougher than men? or has it pretty much evened out? >> i don't know. i think female athletes do have some challenges that men don't have, whether that is on the competition field or pool or court, or outside of it. again, just going back to the 1500, it was so great to finally get that opportunity. i feel like swimming is a really great sport in that the men and the women compete on the same playing field. they usually alternate a men's event and a women's event and we all train together and things like that. i've been really grateful in our sport it hasn't that that big of a disparity, but i know many athletes and female athletes do feel the need to get out there, and there are some differences that need to be addressed. >> woodruff: in connection with that,
3:43 pm
we're remembering title 9, which, of course, is the law that was passed in 72, almost 50 years ago, mandating that women had to be treated equally with men. >> yes. >> woodruff: in education particularly, and in sports. you talked about that and you said what a difference it has made. but you have also said there is more work that needs to be done around that. what needs to be done, do you think? >> for sure, yeah. as you said, my mom was one of the first beneficiaries of title 9. she swam at the university of new mexico and was able to get a scholarship and compete and get a great education. so looking back on that, i don't know if i wouldn't have been a swimmer if my mom hadn't swum through college. she didn't push me to the sport, but she taught me how to swim and i grew to love the sport probably because some of the love of the sport she had. i look at my career, and i
3:44 pm
don't know if it would have been possible without title 9, and i'm really grateful for all of the advances we have made over the past 50 years, through title 9, and there is a lot of work to continue to be done. >> woodruff: when you look at the younger hletes coming along today, whether it is women in swimming or other sports, do they have a clear field ahead of them? or there still obstacles out there? what do you think? >> there are still obstacles out there. you look at companies, and i want to see more females in board rooms and leading companies, especially athletic companies. i think that's a big step that needs to be taken over the next several years. and i hope that i can lead in whatever way i can. >> woodruff: and speaking of the future -- and you mentioned this -- you're already looking ahead to the olympics and 2024. you just graduated from stanford university -- congratulations. >> thank you. >> woodruff: you said the other day, katie ledecky, that you were
3:45 pm
thinking about what you wanted to do outside the pool. tell us a little bit about that. what are you thinking? >> i'm passionate about a lot of things outside of the pool. i've had the great opportunity to work with panisonic on a stem program, tlking about the importance of education and setting goals and trying to familiarize children around th company with science, technology, engineering, math, and skills they'll need in future careers. and i'm also considering going to grad school at some point. i don't know if it will be in the next three years, between now and paris, but i'm going to use the next couple of months, next couple of years, to really plot that out and figure out where i feel like i can be most impactful. >> woodruff: i think you've got some time to figure it out. katie ledecky, congratulations. i know everybody joins me in congratulating you. so proud of you. thank you very much. >> thank you.
3:46 pm
>> woodruff: and we'll be back shortly for a conversation with tennis icon billy jean king. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. >> woodruff: and for those stations staying with us, the shortage of skilled tradespeople in the u.s. was a problem even before the pandemic. and, in this encore presentation, paul solman explores what can be done about it for our series, "work shift", on navigating a post-covid economy. >> reporter: superstar seattle, where the high tech young make six figures and up. but you can make that much in low tech too, says plumber vinnie sposari. >> drain cleaning, light plumbing repairs and that kind of thing, we've got guys making,
3:47 pm
you know, over $100,000 a year. >> reporter: sposari owns seattle's mr. rooter franchise. >> i've got plumbers that work for me tod that make 200,000 plus a year. >> reporter: and they're what age? >> in any age. >> reporter: making $200,000 a year or more. >> absolutely. >> reporter: that's because there simply aren't enough plumbers-- not in boomtowns like seattle, not anywhere. >> manpower is one of the most frustrating parts of my job, is filling all the spots i can hire six, eight experienced plumbers right now. >> reporter: but they're just not out there? >> they're just not out ther guys that are my age, they're aging out. >> reporter: but why aren't they being replaced with the young, given their historically low labor participation rate, made worse by the pandemic? there are all these kids who either aren't working at all or are working in dead end, low wage jobs. why can't you just say to them, hey, by age of 25 or 30, you
3:48 pm
could be making six figures. just come with me. >> i would love to. i've gone to some career days. and you know, the kids, you're waiting for them to come talk to you. and they just dot. >> reporter: so why no takers? >> first and foremost is the perception of plumbing. >> reporter: trevor caldwell is vinnie sposari's right hand man. >> there's this stigma that goes along with getting your hands dirty. just a plumber, not a person, just a plumber. and i don't want to be that guy. >> reporter: or that g. >> you're doing manual labor. people look down on that. and that makes people not want to go into it, clearly. >> reporter: sarah schnabel isn't a plumber, but an ithaca, new york electrical apprentice, another well-paying trade which can't find good help these days, a frustration for schnabel's boss, brian lamorte and his colleagues. >> i know lots of guys in the trade who are contractors, and they're looking for help. >> reporter: and willing to pay
3:49 pm
for it. >> i recently raised our rates a business to $90 an hour and we are not pushing the envelope. we were 75 a little while ago and 65 a little while before at. it's getting to the point where you probably pay us more to come fix your light switch than you do to go to the doctor. >> reporter: so again, why no takers? >> i do think for people my age that it's definitely more glamorous to think of the tech job where you're in a really nice cushy office building. we're the kind of people who are going to hire someone to go change a light bulb, let alo go into the trades. that's kind of where my generation is right now. >> i can't give them a power tool, they might kill themselves with it. they've never held a power tool in their life. >> reporter: yes, says detroit master plumber adrienne bennett, whose firm is currently helping to revitalize "michigan central station," it takes a non-cushy mindset. >> this is physical work. you need to be there on the job site every day. and you got to be on time. and a lot of the young people today, they don't have work ethics. >> reporter: but plenty do.
3:50 pm
determined to breed new plumbers, vinnie sposari runs his own year-long training program, paying young people from the get-go to learn the trade. >> we're paying our trainees 15, 16, $18 an hour. and then when you're done with the program, you're not a full licensed plumber, you're a service technician who's able to snake drains and to do the kind of small plumbing repairs and whatnot and get close to that six figure income. you're getting paid to learn that! >> reporter: after a certain number of hours and possibly an exam; the requiremts vary by locality; you can become a licensed plumber, a quality credential in an economy where only 11% of employers think colleges and universities are ing a good job of preparing people for the workforce. says sposari of his apprenticeship program: >> it's open for everybody. i would welcome anybody.
3:51 pm
>> reporter: but says sposari... >> you'd be amazed how many people we want to hire, but our insurance company won't insure them because of driving violations, drugs, you know, can't keep a job. you know, you see some applicants come in here in a ripped t-shirt, hasn't shaved. you go out, look at his car and it's full of garbage. it hasn't been washed in a month. those are the thgs we look at. >> reporter: but hey, plenty of young folks have intact t- shirts, clean faces, clean cars. maybe they realize, or learn, that you need an apprenticeship to get licensed, says plumber adrienne bennett... >> and the apprenticeships are five years. and you start out at maybe 15, $16 an hour and to get to 40, $50 an hour is going to take you five or six years. >> reporter: plus, to get a job, isn't it who you know? and few potential candidates know tradespeople, it seems. >> i didn't knew nobody. >> reporter: manuel rios, a mr. rooter trainee, used to work on
3:52 pm
electric motors for $18 an hour with little prospect of making much more. but by chance, he met some plumbers there. >> they say that they make a lot of money. and i realize that the plumbing is never going to end because >> reporter: the final barrier to entry in the trades is a familiar one, says electrician lamorte. >> there is a certain feeling that it's kind of like a white man's game. i hate to say it. so people who are l.g.b.t.q., minorities, are a little bit intimidated by the boys club that exists. >> reporter: and of course women. added together, that's about two-thirds of the country. in the le 1970s, adrienne bennett was recruited as a union plumbing apprentice under a federal program targeting women. similar programs exist today. >> this is something that will keep food on the table. it will keep clothes on your back. it will keep a roof over your head. i'm living proof. >> reporter: living proof, as c.e.o. of her own industrial contracting plumbing business since 2008.
3:53 pm
for the pbs newshour, paul solman. >> woodruff: "the 19th," an independent nonprofit newsroom focused on gender and politics-- and a streaming partner of the "newshour"-- hosts its annual "represents summit" this week. in an interview with our own amna nawaz for the event, tennis icon billy jean king described how, as a young woman, she'd worked with other female players to turn amateur women's tennis into a professional sport. >> we went and talked to gladys heldman, who was publisher of "world tennis" magazine. and there were nine of us called the original nine, signed a $1 contract with her. and here are the three things we were willing to do. we had a long talk about this because i told the women, i said, "if you think you're
3:54 pm
going to make a lot of money, if you think you're going to get a lot of applause, we're going to get a lot of applause, et cetera, don't do this." i mean, i was trying to be really, telling all the risks. but here's the three things we decided on. we were willing to give up our careers and that these were the three things: that any girl in this world, if she's good enough, would have finally have a place to compete. number two, that she'd be appreciated for her accomplishments, not only her looks. and number three, the most important thing was to be able to make a living. and that's why we are the leaders in women's sports today. every time a woman tennis player gets a check or makes money off the court, that is because of that moment in time that we were willing to stick together, even if we got suspended, no matter what happened, we were willing to give up our careers. and we're in our 20s. we were right in the thick of our careers. we didn't care.
3:55 pm
>> woodruff: you can watch all of "19th represents" this week on our website,, and on the newshour's youtube page. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at
3:56 pm
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media cess group at wgbh
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
hello, everyone. and welcome to "amanpour and company." here's what's coming up. i don't know what will- what will happen tomorrow and what will happen after. >> fear and desperation. afghanistan wakes up to a teifying new taliban reality. a special hour of news and analysis. i'll speak to the taliban's main spokesman. >> our friends will get killed. our kim will not have any more rights. >> peace negotiatornd former mp on the grave danger they face. >> and -- >> we have invested over four administrations, billions of dollars, along with the international community in the afghan secit