Linda Basch: What three recommendations do you have for Timothy Geithner, our next Treasury Secretary?
Sara Gould: First, we must strongly urge that the next Secretary ensure that the $700 billion bailout and other actions designed to address the economic crisis prioritize getting relief to communities that need it most. It’s not enough to rely on support for large banks to trickle down to middle and low-income people who are disproportionately affected by the plummeting economy—particularly when the banks’ share of the bailout came with few regulations and the conditions it did come with are being defied (see Naomi Klein’s article in The Nation). Instead, the next Treasury Secretary should require that financial institutions use the bailout money for lending to consumers—instead of to boost the value of its shares. In addition to accountability and comprehensive regulations that apply to bailed-out banks and beyond, s/he should insist upon transparency and reveal exactly where the money is going and how it is being used. It is especially critical that the bailout money be used to help people who are facing or already in foreclosure—the majority of whom are likely women and people of color, as they were most likely to receive sub-prime loans in the first place. One promising option is to support FDIC chairperson Sheila Bair’s proposal to use $25 billion of the bailout to provide mortgage relief to homeowners. Her proposal would offer incentives to loan servicers to restructure mortgages, making payments more affordable. Second, an economic stimulus should be passed quickly. It should include immediate relief such as the extension of unemployment benefits as well as programs like job creation and training that will ensure economic stability for low- and middle-income people over the long-term. Any economic stimulus package should be sure to address the urgent needs of those who have been most impacted by the crisis, especially low-income women, women of color and their families. Recent statistics show that women are losing jobs at twice the rate of men.Third, we must return to a system of progressive taxation in which people with high incomes and net worth provide a larger share of tax revenues. New revenue should go towards domestic stimulus programs such as job training and infrastructure rebuilding as well as for key social and economic supports that have been eroded over the last two decades.
November 18, 2008 posted by Vivienne Heston-Demirel In the spirit of continuing to send messages to President-elect Obama and his transition team, we bring you this week’s round-up of links to campaigns from those in our wider network. Amazing work going on out there. If we’ve missed you, please let us know! The first issue of Ms. magazine in 2009 - which will hit newsstands just as President-elect Obama is sworn in – will feature the best of readers’ ideas for moving forward to make the change we need. Enter yours by clicking here.
Last week, we asked prominent leaders of women's organizations to send us their messages to President-elect Obama and his transition team. We asked these leaders to speculate about how might life be different—more equitable, healthier, more secure—for women and girls in an Obama era. What are their visions for an Obama Administration? Who are their ideal Cabinet picks? What new offices, government departments, or agencies would they like to see set up? What’s been most missing in President-elect Obama’s platform around women’s issues, and what messages would they like to send the transition team to rectify these lapses going forward? How do we move women and the issues women care about most from the margins to the center in this new administration?
November 7, 2008 posted by Linda Basch Linda Basch: What is your vision for an Obama administration? Who are your ideal Cabinet picks? What new offices, government departments, or agencies would you like to see set up?(We invite your biggest-sky thinking here, far out of the box!)Carol Jenkins: Wouldn’t it be wonderful, given that women determined this victory, that all of the photo-ops we are beginning to see included as many women as men—as many people of color as non. The early signals about an Obama administration are crucial. This is not the time to reflexively turn to the “old hands” of previous administrations. New ideas are needed, fresh thinking is needed. The “old hands” have brought us to the brink of economic collapse.
November 7, 2008 Posted by Rita Henley Jensen, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Women’s eNews As The Memo: A Status Report on U.S. Women produced this summer by Women's eNews documents, we’ve seen a decline in U.S. women's wellbeing during the last decade: Our labor force participation is down; the wage gap is persistent, women's health indicators are falling, violence against women is likely to increase during the recession and lesbian or suspected lesbians who are in the military are most likely to be discharged under the Ask Don't Tell policy. Bias against women is systematic and needs to be addressed in a systematic way. To move women and the issues women care about most from the margins to the center in this new administration, President Obama should hold a joint monthly with the women's caucuses of the House and Senate. He should also consider the suggestions outlined below. New Appointments, Task Forces, and Advisory Positions I have two strong candidates for the Secretary of Treasury Post and both are brilliant and neither has made public statements insulting women's abilities in math and science, as has Lawrence Summers, who is currently under consideration. They are: 1. Brooksley E. Born is now chair of the board of the National Women's Law Center. From 1996 to 1999 she was chair of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission the federal government agency that oversees the futures and commodity option markets and futures professionals. While at the CFTC, Born served as a member of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets and the Technical Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions. She was fired from her post because she dared to urge tighter regulation of trading in derivatives. She was given her pink slip by none other than, yes indeed, , Mr. Shortlist for Treasury Secretary himself, best know for challenging the existence of gender bias and for his statement that "innate differences" between men and women might explain why fewer women succeed in those careers.
November 7, 2008 Posted by Linda Basch Linda Basch: What is your vision for an Obama administration? Who are your ideal Cabinet picks? What new offices, government departments, or agencies would you like to see set up? (We invite your biggest-sky thinking here, far out of the box!)Chris Grumm: Barack Obama's election is an exhilarating opportunity for new leadership and especially for women's leadership. This is a truly exciting time in history and we are on the cusp of a transformational moment for the world. Obama, both now as he creates his team and after January 20th, can bring a critical mass of women to decision-making tables, harnessing the visions of the best and brightest women from business, academia, government and the nonprofit world. This step-change - the infusion of women's ideas voices and leadership across the board - will catalyze real change in this country and worldwide. Rather than creating new agencies, Obama needs to reframe how existing agencies work. Women must be recognized as experts and partners in every agency, ensuring their voices and solutions are integral to policymaking on every critical national and global matter. We have the opportunity to ensure established departments and agencies function for the benefit of us all, fully addressing conditions challenging women and families who are disproportionately affected by issues such as poverty or unequal access to healthcare. Below are a few examples of how existing departments could embrace a new, expanded focus to achieve greater impact:
Every department collecting data on women;
the Department of Labor making major strides on the economic self sufficiency of women and their families;
the Department of Health and Human Services ensuring access to health care for everyone;
the Department of State practicing global compassion and collaboration with foreign policy negotiations;
and a Department of Education focused not only on excellent education for children but on the involvement of families and communities in the preparation of our future workforce.
November 7, 2008 Posted by Marie Wilson, President and Founder, The White House Project In headlines across the world, President-elect Obama's win has been rightly celebrated for the racial barriers his candidacy, and eventual victory, have broken down. Yet the historic nature of President-elect Obama's rise is also reflected in his campaign's innovative and trailblazing style—one that helped to win him the election. From their remarkable GOTV efforts which redrew the electoral map, to the tremendous impact of "hope and change" as mantras for a new America, the Obama campaign utilized great ingenuity to fire up a nation of voters. My vision for the Obama administration hinges on using this very spirit of creativity and skill to shepherd in a new era for our nation's women.
November 7, 2008 posted by Linda Basch Linda Basch: What is your vision for an Obama administration? Who are your ideal Cabinet picks? What new offices, government departments, or agencies would you like to see set up?
November 7, 2008 posted by Linda Basch A new administration, the cap to a long and exciting election campaign, and change is in the air. We have much hope, but we also have big issues to tackle. The economic crisis brings particular urgency to the issues foremost on our minds. At the Council, we've been talking about economic security, but now we need to talk about economic recovery and the ways women are particularly affected. Women are more likely to be in foreclosure and hold sub-prime mortgages (32% more likely than men despite better credit scores), more likely to be poor, to be earning minimum wage (68.4% nationally), and to lack adequate health insurance. These challenges are not unique to women, they affect families, communities, and the entire nation.