I have to admit, when I was a kid, I was convinced that I would be the first woman President of the United States. Eventually, I abandoned that career goal but to this day am still a bit of a politics nerd. Well, it's nice to see that the next generation of girl leaders are getting a jumpstart on civic engagement thanks to Girls Inc. Earlier this month, four Girls Inc National Scholars met with the First Lady's staff to discuss barriers to physical activities for girls across the U.S. Click here to view videos of the girls talking about this amazing experience.
President Obama is all set to deliver his first State of the Union address this evening at 9pm EST. The question on my mind is will he cover issues that matter most to women? This is a President who started his term by signing into law the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (although the Paycheck Fairness Act was subsequently sidelined and forgotten, leaving the job half-done).
One need only look to the Declaration of Sentiments adopted by the women in attendance at the Seneca Falls Convention in August 1848 to begin to appreciate how far women in the United States still are from reaching equality in a host of arenas, many of which are dependent on political or legal equality. Although women were granted the franchise in 1920 after decades of struggle, it is only in the past few decades that women have become a political force – at least at the ballot box. Women not only vote more than men, but unmarried women and women of color are much more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. In fact, women were key voters in the successful elections of Presidents Clinton and Obama.
May 27, 2009 posted by Linda Basch After nearly a month of anticipation, President Obama has finally announced his nomination for Supreme Court justice—and what a nomination! The President tapped Sonia Sotomayor, a New York federal appeals justice born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in housing projects in the South Bronx. In a world where most Latinas are far less likely to go on to college than any other group of women, only 2.9 % of Latina Women hold advanced graduate degrees, 10% of all Latina women are unemployed, and the number of female Hispanic Federal Court Judges can be counted on one hand, Sotomayor has risen above those odds to become the first ever Hispanic woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court. Her ascent from humble beginnings mirrors President Obama’s personal narrative; both overcame incredible obstacles to become role models for generations. For those in the Hispanic Community, her appointment is a glimmer of hope that the often silenced voice of the Hispanic, female minority has a better chance of being represented in public debates and decision-making.
This past year has been a whirlwind for women and politics! The campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin demonstrated that sexism in the media is far from dead. A number of powerful women are playing vital roles in the new administration. And Obama’s first 100 days proved to be very woman-friendly. Of course, our work is far from done.
April 3, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird Last night I attended a dynamic panel hosted by Legal Momentum on Women’s Economic Equality: The Next Frontier in Women’s Rights. The brilliant panelists duked it out, discussing the current economic situation, its impact on women, and in what directions we should be heading. Legal Momentum President, Irasema Garza, discussed the frustration that while historic legal victories were secured decades ago, this hasn’t translated into systematic equality for the majority of women in the U.S. Women continue to be steered away from training opportunities, segregated into low-wage jobs, and are 42% more likely to be poor than men. In the midst of this stalemate came a ray of sunshine: the election of Obama. With this historic election comes the opportunity to set new goals, reframe old debates, and shift the focus of our advocacy. In this light, Legal Momentum is calling for a Second Bill of Rights for Women. The bill must provide pathways to employment for women through job training and education; secure rights and supports to ensure women earn a living wage; ensure that public benefits provide an adequate safety net; and expand legal rights and support services for survivors of domestic violence. Heather Boushey brought her economic expertise from the Center for American Progress and laid out the current stark reality:
March 11, 2009 posted by adminThis just in: by executive order President Obama has created a White House Council on Women and Girls. As NOW stated in their press release, "We asked for a Cabinet-level office to work on women's issues, and we got the entire cabinet." The Council will headed by Valerie Jarrett and include every Cabinet secretary and head of every Cabinet-level agency. This is obviously a huge step. What do you think the first
February 13, 2009 posted by Linda Basch Last week we reached out to advocates and scholars working on issues affecting girls’ lives to submit their Girls Agenda 2009: More funding for teen dating violence prevention? More attention paid to the international trafficking of girls? New programs to promote the health, safety, and well-being of future women? Effective, comprehensive sex education in our schools? The responses we received were dynamic, fresh, and exciting. Deborah Tolman, Professor of Social Welfare, Hunter College School of Social Work, suggested that in order to enhance girls’ resiliency, we must do more than reduce risk—we must provide encouragement so that they may live their lives in the positive. Lyn Mikel Brown, author of Girlfighting, offered an insightful critique of the “mean girl” phenomenon and recommended a strength-based approach: “We affirm girls’ relational and political strengths by giving them reason to believe they can count on one another and work together to solve social problems.” Allison Kimmich, Executive Director of the National Women’s Study Association, drew on Obama’s role as both father and policymaker, nudging him to make policy decisions in the same manner he parents.
February 6, 2009 posted by admin Dear Barack and Michelle, I’m writing to you as the parents of beautiful girls, and as people who hold the future of this country in your hands for the next four years. I know that you both take seriously your job as parents as well as the way you can shape public policy to improve your daughters’ lives. Michelle has talked about supporting working parents and Barack has talked about fighting workplace discrimination so Sasha and Malia will not have to experience it as adults. George W.
February 5, 2009 posted by admin [caption id="attachment_1063" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="New Moon Girl"][/caption] The following 5 posts are from members of the Girls Editorial Board ofNew Moon Girls. They all live in Minnesota. Dear President Obama, You are now the president of the United States of America, what I had been wanting to happen since the beginning of the election. I am a supporter of women's rights and equal treatment of women. In this year 2009 there are many things that I would like to see change. Incidents of injustice must stop in the United States, and fairness should be strived for everywhere. In all places people of all races and genders should work together, equal pay and things such as fair promotions should be fought for but unfortunately this does not always happen. I strive to change that. Here are some facts about injustice to women that need to change: