Women Ready To Lead in an Obama Administration
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Today, the WomenCount petition noted, "the role that women play in our economic structure has never been clearer. Women are the backbone of the nation's workforce and control 70 percent of its buying power."
At the same time, the 2008 campaigns exposed many problems, according to the petition. "The candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, while inspiring women and girls around the country to imagine what can be, exposed extreme gender bias in the media and throughout our culture." A presidential commission on women is needed to keep women "at the forefront of our political discourse."
A separate effort is sponsored by 48 national women's groups, most of them based on the East Coast, urging creation of a Cabinet-level office to assess and coordinate the many programs and policies that affect women. The office would have a staff and a director who would report directly to the president. Its mandate would be to:
- Evaluate federal programs, initiatives and policies for their impact on women (both opportunities and inequities) and suggest ways to improve them;
- Take leadership of a reconstituted White House Office for Women's Initiative and Outreach as well as a restored Interagency Council on Women;
- Advocate for women, including women of color, on policies ranging from health care to labor issues to the economy;
- Coordinate governmentwide women's initiatives and ensure that agency and departmental policies mesh with "national and international commitments to women";
- Expand and strengthen what had been a Clinton administration office for women's initiatives and outreach, both to solicit views of national women's groups for the administration and to keep those groups posted in administration initiatives;
- Communicate not just with state-level Status of Women Commissions but also with U.N. offices and commissions on women.
This article was originally posted by the Women's Media Center. The WMC is a nonprofit organization founded by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan, dedicated to making the female half of the world visible and powerful in the media.
Peggy Simpson worked 17 years for the Associated Press, in Texas and Washington; covered economics and politics for the Hearst Newspapers, served as Washington bureau chief for Ms. Magazine and reported on Eastern Europe's transition from communism to a democratic market economy as a freelancer during the 1990s. She has taught at Indiana University, George Washington University and at the American Studies Center at Warsaw University. She currently is a freelance writer in Washington.