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Ms. Releases Report on Obama’s First 100 Days: Giant Strides for Women

Ms. magazine’s editors conclude President Obama took “Giant Strides for Women” in his first 100 days. He not only reversed some of the most egregious Bush policies, but also took powerful actions to advance and empower women.

“By any measure, the work President Obama has done for women and girls in the first 100 days is impressive. I have been working for women’s rights in Washington since the Carter days and I have never seen anything like these first 100 days,” said Eleanor Smeal, Publisher of Ms. “In employment, reproductive rights, and global women’s rights, thus far he is keeping his promises.

“In looking at the list of accomplishments, we’re checking off major goals for women’s rights at a rapid pace,” said Ms. Executive Editor Kathy Spillar. “We’re excited a large portion of Obama’s appointments are women of color, but his appointments are one area in which he could improve. He has appointed some outstanding women, but only 32% of his top appointments, thus far, are women (using the Washington Post Tracking Poll).”

Listed below are key Obama Administration actions for women and children:

JAN 23

 

Overturned “global gag rule,” which will help re-fund international family-planning groups
JAN 29 Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring women’s ability to sue for pay discrimination
FEB 4 Expanded government health insurance to cover 11 million children
FEB 17 Saved and created jobs in traditionally women-heavy fields—health care, child care and education—in $787 billion economic stimulus package; also increased Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment benefits
FEB 27            Moved to rescind the Bush administration’s “conscience” clause—which could have let health-care workers deny patients abortion and contraception
MAR 2            With the choice of Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services secretary, appointed a total of seven women to Cabinet-level positions
MAR 6 Instituted a new ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues
MAR 9            Lifted restrictions on stem cell research
MAR 11          Established the White House Council on Women and Girls
MAR 11 Restarted U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund Reinstated low-cost birth control availability at college health centers and at some 400 clinics serving low-income women
MAR 19 Pledged to sign U.N. declaration to decriminalize homosexuality, which Bush refused to sign
MAR 20 Obama appointee Elena Kagan is confirmed as the first woman Solicitor General
APR 3 Obama calls Afghanistan’s proposed Shia Family Law “abhorrent”
APR 23 To date, Obama’s appointments to posts needing Senate confirmation were 32% women with a substantial portion women of color

The spring 2009 issue of Ms. also reviews the economic stimulus package and reproductive health initiatives of the new Obama Administration as well as the new Obama/Clinton foreign policy approaches.

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