Posted December 5, 2008 by Kyla Bender-Baird In this year’s historic election, young voters played a decisive role in determining our new President. According to exit polls, 68% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for Obama compared to 45% of voters 65 and up. In California, it has been speculated that if only younger voters cast their ballots, Proposition 8—the initiative which stripped same-sex couples of their right to marry—would never have passed. And yet, this is a generation often accused of political apathy. What galvanized young voters this year to push past cynicism and turn out on voting day?
December 2, 2008 posted by admin "Senator Clinton's accession to Secretary of State will be an unprecedented opportunity for women at long last to take their rightful place shoulder-to-shoulder in the international community as leaders, as peers, and as beings whose human rights are as important, valued and 'inalienable' as those of men. Too long the human rights community has dismissed women's rights as important, but not 'human rights' and therefore not important enough to be addressed by their gigantic and well-funded organizations.
“As Barack Obama introduced Hillary Clinton as his nominee for Secretary of State on Monday, the wish of many during the heated presidential primaries came true: that there would be an opportunity to use the immense skills of both to tackle the enormous problems we face. There is no question that both realize they are being handed the most delicate of assignments. With Clinton's history of working for the rights of women, we expect that she will fold into her portfolio the fate of the women of the world—those targeted by acid in Pakistan, rape in the Congo, and hunger everywhere. Until these issues of personal security are resolved, it is unlikely that so-called high-level treaties will hold.”
December 2, 2008 posted by Linda Basch There is a widespread outcry for the US to reassert its moral leadership in the world. How do we do this? Well, for starters, we can demonstrate a genuine commitment to partnering with other nations to create greater global security and equality for all peoples – across genders, religions, ethnicities, races, and sexualities. We have a lot of ground to make up, given the US’s record over the past eight years, when our government has often seemed to impede rather than facilitate global peace and security. In this regard, President-elect Obama’s choice of Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State is promising.
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.