Monday, March 23, 2009

A student's reaction to the Obama Gender Agenda

This entire post is submitted by one of my students. I have not written or contributed to it at all [- EHI]

Here is an article that I found interesting from the National Women's Day 2009 website, that was in the week 7 of our weekly guides for this course.

How will women fare under Obama?

Barack Obama has stacked competent women around him at all levels of the administration, not just at the top level but also at the second and third layers.

Three of the fifteen members in his Cabinet are women, or not quite 20%. Obama is used to having strong women around him. Most of these positions are in the national security and economic issues arenas so are key positions.
- Hillary Rodham-Clinton, Secretary of State
- Hilda Solis, Secretary-Designate, Department of Labor
- Janet Napolitani, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

And there are further powerful women in critical roles:
- Christina Romer, Chair, Council of Economic Advisors
- Susan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations
- Lisa Jackson, Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency

So exactly what can women expect from the Obama Administration. What will the US Gender Agenda really look like? Well the Obama Adminstration has set a clear agenda for women and it is as follows.

- Fixing the Nation's Health Care System
- Empowering women to prevent HIV/AIDS
- Supporting research into women's health
- Fighting Cancer
- Reducing health risks due to mercury pollution
- Supporting stem cell research

Reproductive choice:
- Supporting a woman's right to choose
- Preventing unintended pregnancy

Preventing violence against women:
- Reducing domestic violence and strengthening domestic violence laws
- Fighting gender violence abroad

Economic issues:
- Fighting for pay equity and encouraging retirement saving
- Expanding paid sick days
- Investing in women-owned small businesses
- Protecting social security

National security:
- Caring for women veterans

- Renewing efforts to tackle underlying problems causing poverty
− Raising the minimum wage and helping low-income workers

- Protecting title tax
- Expanding early childhood education and improving schools
Making college more affordable

I found this website very empowering for women. I believe that Obama is going to be a wonderful, helpful, intelligent, empowering President. From this website, along with everything else that I have seen from him or heard of him, he seems to want to help the underprivileged and minorities. President Obama himself is a minority, so I think that is why he is so apt to want to help minorities, and even those in need. He does not seem to have ever been in poverty himself, but he can empathize with those who have been there. I think that his expectations and efforts are extremely commendable. If President Obama actually comes through with all of his plans, I believe that the US will definitely become a better place to live.

In regards to the issues mentioned on this particular website, I personally cannot wait for his plans for the US Gender Agenda to pass. Health care in the U.S. is a very touchy, long, difficult subject to get into, because there are so many different viewpoints on how to correct the health care system so that everyone can obtain it, even if not equally. I believe that the whole Obama administration has their hands full when it comes to fixing the Nation's Health Care System. I say good luck on that one. I currently do not have health care myself. My daughter has the Public Aid card, but I cannot afford health insurance myself. My job only offers health care for full time employees, but does not ever want to give anyone 40 hours a week to make anyone full time. It's a catch 22, and I know that it is like that at a lot of jobs. Also, I am not married, so I cannot go on my husband's insurance. I honestly hope that the Obama administration does come up with the perfect idea to make everyone happy, or at least content, with the nation's health care system.

Also in regards to women's issues, the Obama administration states that they will prevent unintended pregnancies and support a women's right to chose. Being a woman, I believe that these are two very important and overlooked issues in most presidential campaigns. Dealing with giving support to a women's right to chose is a very touchy subject, but needs to be addressed by presidential candidates. So does pregnancy. In today's society there are so many teenage pregnancies and other issues dealing with unintended pregnancies. I believe that there should be more affordable birth control, more education dealing with birth control, more sex education, and more education to explain all the options available for pregnant women. I really hope that the issues will be discussed and addressed by the Obama administration in the aspect of preventing unintended pregnancies and supporting a women's right to chose.

Another issue that I found in this website that the Obama administration is going to tackle and is of extreme importance in today's society is poverty. I believe that President Obama and his administration is serious when they state that they want to raise minimum wage to help low-income workers, and renew efforts to tackle underlying problems causing poverty. That issue should be the main focus, to renew efforts to tackle underlying problems that cause poverty. A lot of presidents and people before Obama have just taken the “band-aid” approach to tackling the issue of poverty. They always pushed it under the rug and let it be, or tried to help people after they have been in poverty for long periods of time. I believe that it is time we have someone in office that actually has the mentality to look at the root of the problem instead of trying to cover up or fix it after it is too late. If Obama is actually serious about looking at the underlying problems that cause poverty, then I believe he will definitely be able to educate people, and hopefully try different tactics to get people out of poverty and help them stay out. Hopefully, he will reform the Public Aid and Welfare systems to only help those in need, but to also help them obtain and maintain employment, while also helping with education about birth control and child care, as well as social security and retirement. There are many issues that poverty presents for our nation, and I am very glad that we finally elected such a powerful, intelligent, empathetic, and wonderful President as Barack Obama.

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