“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 21, 2008 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird [caption id="attachment_722" align="alignleft" width="258" caption="Ellen Bravo, Lilly Ledbetter, Pamela Stone"][/caption] Despite years of legislative lobbying, grassroots activism, and extensive research, the gender wage gap has remained largely unchanged in the past two decades. Women on average still earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men and are often marginalized in minimum-wage jobs. Having children, furthermore, increases men’s earning potential while decreasing women’s incomes. To address these continuing inequalities, the Equal Pay Coalition NYC—spearheaded by the New York Women’s Agenda —gathered a panel of experts and activists at Hunter College Wednesday morning. Partners for the event included the National Council for Research on Women and the National Women’s Law Center. Maria Hinojosa, managing editor of PBS, moderated. The panel included Ellen Bravo (former director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women), Edward Ott (Executive Director of the New York City Central Labor Council), Donna Pedro (a diversity compensation expert), Dr. Pamela Stone (professor of gender equity) and Lilly Ledbetter whose Title VII pay discrimination lawsuit rejuvenated the movement for pay equity.
In her opening remarks, Jennifer Raab—President of Hunter College—stated that fair pay is a foundation of equal rights. The New York City Council passed two resolutions last year demanding equal pay at state and federal levels. A recent GAO report, however, found that a 20% pay gap has remained consistent throughout the past 20 years.
Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger and Nancy Duff Campbell, Co-Presidents, National Women's Law Center Throughout the nation's history, the actions of Congress, the President, and the courts have had a tremendous impact on the progress of women and their families.
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 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.