– “Are your reproductive rights more secure today than they were 100 days ago? How about the human rights of women around the world? Are we making progress toward universal access to basic sexual and reproductive health services, comprehensive sex education and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment here and abroad?” Emily Douglas of RH Reality Check offers answers to these questions and more in this informative report card.
Obama scores highest on global women’s rights and reproductive health and women’s economic equity. When it comes to sexuality education and teen pregnancy prevention, RH Reality Check gives Obama a “C.”
– C. Nicole Mason, a political scientist and executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, writes at Women’s eNews: “For women of color, it’s also the time to mark a new era of political visibility and prominence.”
Since he took office, Obama has appointed or nominated eight women to his cabinet or other high-level leadership positions and more than 50 percent of these nominees have been women of color. This is not only more than any other U.S. president, it’s a watershed moment in the history of women of color in this country.
Hands down, the standout appointment is Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. She is a pro-labor activist from La Puente, Calif., who has served as congresswoman for the majority Latino 32nd district representing East Los Angeles for eight years. In a time of severe economic crisis and record unemployment rates, she will bring to the policymaking table an unparalleled understanding of the issues facing low-to-moderate income working families and immigrants.
Mason goes on to identify other key players serving in influential positions — such as Lisa Jackson, who will head the EPA; Melody Barnes, director of domestic policy; and Cassandra Butts, deputy White House counsel — and provides some historical context.
– “As progressives, we can nearly always find something to complain about, but now more than ever, it’s time to celebrate this new direction and saddle up for the work ahead,” writes Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, before introducing Planned Parenthood’s picks for the Top 10 Women’s Health Achievements.
Counting backwards: 10. Repealed the global gag rule; 9. Moved to overturn the HHS midnight regulation; 8. Supporting teens’ health over ideology; 7. Expanding access to family planning; 6. Restored affordable birth control; 5. Formed the White House Council on Women and Girls; 4. Nominated strong women’s champions to key cabinet posts; 3. Expanding access to Plan B; 2. Focusing on AIDS outreach; 1. Committed to health care reform.
– Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, says her group is marking the milestone “as yet another reminder of how electing leaders who support the fundamental American values of freedom and privacy does make a difference in the lives of women and their families.” Keenan identifies seven signs of change so far but warns of a “a long and bumpy road to progress” ahead.
“There will be budget debates, a possible vacancy on the Supreme Court, and more,” writes Keenan.
– On LGBT … “If Barack Obama were a student in a high school civics class, he’d be getting a pretty good grade for class participation. Compared to the rows of sullen, silent Presidents behind him, he would look like a gay rights brown-nose,” writes attorney Emma Ruby-Sachs at Huffington Post.
“But 70% of LGBT voters came out in support of Barack Obama because they expected that the support for equal rights expressed on the campaign trail would result in action for LGBT people once Obama was in office,” she adds. “And when it comes to actual change in the lives of LGBT people, nothing has been done. Obama has failed to hand in any of his assignments.”