Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

08 February 2009

Women's Bureau of the US Dept of Labor

In 2001 the Bush Administration attempted to kill the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau. This underappreciated arm of the government mission is "To improve the status of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment."

While I have to fully admit that the Women's Bureau, even under a very tight budget, has been pretty good to my place of employment during the past administration*, I have been awaiting a change in the White House with the hope that the WB would be allowed to fully do what they are meant to do. I've received word from friends that current NOW President Kim Gandy's is being thrown about for Director of the Women's Bureau!

If I'm correct, this position can't be filled until we get Hilda Solis confirmed.

After Kim's term is over at NOW (sometime in August, I believe) she would be a wonderful person to lead the WB. I've worked with Kim over the past 5 1/2 years on various NOW issues. While we haven't always agreed on methodology & implementation, we do agree on the centrality of economic justice to women's rights.

Kim understands that choice cannot mean anything without women having access to education & training and to fair & equal pay. She understands that the fight for marriage equality is not just about marriage, but economic security. Kim gets it people.

There is also "an anonymous" email going around smearing Kim based on the fact that NOW endorsed Obama & Biden. Oddly I didn't see a similar smear campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton, patron feminist saint, for taking the Secretary of State job with the Obama administration. Apparently Clinton supporters who followed Clinton's call for unity are traitors, but not Clinton herself. OK, I get that. Not.

Yes, there are other feminists who would do an awesome job at WB. But there is nothing I have seen, heard, or experienced that would convince me that Kim Gandy would not rock the WB.

We need someone with the passion that Kim has in the WB to not just make sure that it sticks to its mission, but also that women's working issues are not sweep under the rug with stories about men losing their job faster than women. The economic status of women is not just about how many of us are working -- With the wage gap, us women need to work more than men to earn enough as men -- It is nuanced with discrimination, child care issues and elder care issues. It is about women working multiple past-time jobs when their husband's get laid off. It is not as simple as counting jobs, but the quality of those jobs.

I would be proud to continue working with Kim Gandy if she is indeed appointed as Director of the Women's Bureau. The women of this country would be well represented.


* One of my office's projects is listed on the left sidebar. Hint, it's in purple.

4 comments:

I began calling myself a feminist happily and became active in NOW after hearing Kim Gandy speak in 1995 (or 96) when the national NOW conference was in Columbus, OH and I'd been lucky enough to score a press pass for the college newspaper. It was amazing to be around all of these other women who seemed so much older than me and to see groups of women of color sitting together voting, and groups of trans-women voting, and groups of women with obvious physical disabilities voting. It felt inclusive and empowering. 20 years later Kim still seems to have the same energy level (which I find beyond amazing). If there is the opportunity to vote for a woman, I would vote for Kim without missing a beat. And I really wish I could find the pictures I took of Kim at that event.

I hope everyone will post and comment because any response will be helpful I think. Kim is so special - as you already know and can tell from Cinnamon's post.

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While I love getting information about feminist articles, but please make them relevant to the post.