100 days down, 1,360 to go.
already, there have been a variety of important and meaningful strides by the obama administration to right wrongs and improve the lives of women and girls. because (not to belabour the point, but): the lives of women and girls are NOT equally safe, prosperous or healthy as the lives of men. STILL.
a few of the (exciting!) highlights:
*repeal of the global gag rule = clinics around the world receiving funding from the u.s. can once again provide information about and services related to family planning. which gives women more choices with regard to how many children they bear. which means they may have the opportunity to do something other than bear 10 unwanted children and live a life of poverty. a novel idea.
*lilly ledbetter fair pay act = anyone (*not just women, it should be noted*) who suspects wage discrimination has more time to bring suit against their employer. no-brainer. (see below for remaining questions.)
*white house council on women and girls = the promise of real, sustained attention to issues of health, violence against women, fair pay, etc. etc. etc. (see below for remaining questions.)
but questions remain:
*the lilly ledbetter act isn't going to solve the actual problem of unequal pay for equal work. the Paycheck Fairness Act will directly address the underlying issue of wage discrimination. this bill still needs to be passed. it includes training, technical assistance and incentives for employers to be(come) fair.
*the white house council has no paid staff, nor is the executive director (tina tchen) a cabinet-level position. it remains to be seen how active the council will be (no set meeting dates yet) and how influential it may become. will this be an active, change-making council, or an empty promise?
*the economic turmoil will likely have an immediate and severe effect on women. stimulus/recovery plans MUST address the effect of the economy on women explicitly, or they will implicitly leave them out completely. women still earn only 78 cents to a man's dollar. and the gap is MUCH wider for women of color (african-american earning 69 cents on the dollar, and latinas only 59 cents!) (!!!)
*what will be done about violence against women? especially in the u.s. military! one in three women in the military will be sexually assaulted during their tour of duty. ONE IN THREE.
some issues are so apparent, so prevalent and so apalling, i am routinely left speechless when i see the reality of the way women still have to fight tooth and nail, every day, to simply live a safe life, with equal rights and choices equal to those men enjoy. but it IS real, and the more people SEE the inequities that face every woman, every day...the more i hope they will speak up and demand change.