Who Better to Help Women at the Department of Labor Than NOW President Kim Gandy?

Feb 9, 2009 by

Kim GandyVictories are beginning to add up for American women.

President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He’s signed a law expanding health care benefits for women and children under SCHIP. And now, there’s a chance that Kim Gandy, longtime women’s activist, feminist leader and President of the National Organization for Women is a contender for the slot as the head of the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor.

To say that Gandy would be the perfect person for the slot is an understatement (and I’m not just saying that because I hear she’s read my blog every now and then!) 😉 The mission statement of the Women’s Bureau is:

To improve the status of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment.

Gandy has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of women. It started for Kim when, according to her Wikipedia entry, she had to get her husband’s permission for employee benefits when she worked for AT&T after getting out of college. Yeah. His permission. That would have inspired me to do something, too.

Seriously, Gandy has worked tirelessly for women ever since, but apparently the people behind The New Agenda blog believe that NOW’s support of Barack Obama for president disqualifies her for a potential position in the Obama administration. Really? ‘Cause this is part of her resume:

Since 2001, Gandy has led NOW’s campaigns on issues ranging from Supreme Court nominations to the rights of mothers and caregivers, from Social Security reform to ending the war in Iraq. Through grassroots political action, Gandy helped increase the women’s vote and change the face of Congress in 2006 and is leading the organization’s efforts around the pivotal 2008 elections.

That’s exactly the kind of person I want in charge of women’s issues at the Labor Department, especially now as the administration contemplates how more women will be able to employed in the jobs creation aspect of the stimulus package.

Gandy has been a champion for women’s rights her whole life, and that’s who I want working hard to make sure women get an equal slice of the job creation pie. I’m sure Gandy isn’t the only person who could be good in that job. But I have to wonder what’s behind such a public dissing of Gandy by a group that claims to be all for advancing women’s rights? If you’re looking for a qualified, dedicated woman to lead efforts to promote and benefit women over the next four years, no one is more qualified. And, if you look carefully at the stated goals of The New Agenda, it seems that Gandy would be perfect for the, too.

I’m not sure what this preemptive strike is all about, but I’ve come to learn the hard way that if something smells a little fishy, odds are it’s worth taking a look around to see where the odor is coming from.

Kim, for what it’s worth, after everything you’ve done for women (and girls) in your lifetime, you’ve got as much support as I can give you. You deserve it.

Cross-posted from Joanne’s place, PunditMom.

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How Long Will it Be Until the Next “Viable Woman Presidential Candidate?”

Jun 3, 2008 by

I didn’t start out as a Hillary Clinton supporter.

John and Elizabeth Edwards were my presidential couple of choice.  In fact, when it became clear, lo’ those many years ago, that Hillary was crafting her White House strategy I said to anyone who would listen that she would never be able to be elected — partly because of her Clinton “baggage” and partly because I didn’t think this country was ready yet for a woman president.

Uttering those words felt like feminist treason.

But as someone who grew up in a rural community and who has lived in some fairly red areas, I had a bad feeling in my gut that America wasn’t ready.

It looks like I was right.

Many have argued that such a notion is nonsense,  After all, plenty of other countries have had women leaders, so surely it was time for the US to join those ranks.

But America lags in so many things that benefit women — reproductive rights, numbers of women involved in government (we’re behind plenty of countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Argentina just to name two), and maternity leave benefits— that I doubted whether we as a country possessed the basic amount of respect toward women that would be needed to put one in charge of the whole country.

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Jesse Jackson Says Edwards is the Only Democrat Paying Attention to African-Americans

Nov 27, 2007 by

Jesse Jackson, the former presidential candidate and President/Founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, has an interesting column in the Chicago Sun-Times entitled, “Most Democratic Candidates are Ignoring African Americans.”

Jackson thinks the candidates are ignoring the important votes of the African-American community because the contenders assume that black voters will cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate over a Republican.

But as I was reading, I had to raise my eyebrows in surprise, because he saved some praise for one candidate and not the one I would have guessed.  There is only one Democratic candidate who is the exception, in Jackson’s mind, and that candidate is John Edwards.

“… [T]he Democratic candidates — with the exception of John Edwards,
who opened his campaign in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and has made
addressing poverty central to his campaign — have virtually ignored
the plight of African Americans in this country. The catastrophic
crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without
mention. No urban agenda is given priority.”

Jackson’s commentary is a grim reminder of the challenges many in the African-American community in our country face — historic and institutionalized patterns of discrimination, discrepancies between inner city schools and those in the suburbs, and inequities in the criminal justice system, just to name a few.

While Jackson is not giving any of the Democrats a pass, John Edwards is the only Democratic candidate he mentions by name as having made issues important to African-Americans central to his presidential campaign.  The absence of the names of any other Democrats is, quite frankly, shocking to me, since Jackson is on the record as endorsing Barack Obama and his son, Jesse Jackson, Jr., has recorded radio spots for Obama.

So one has to ask — where do the others stand on these issues?  And if they haven’t been answered to the satisfaction of one of the leaders of the civil rights movement, isn’t it time they got started?

You can also find Joanne thinking about politics over at her place, PunditMom.

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