Along with the rest of the country eagerly anticipating the inauguration
of Barack Obama, the majority of American women will be reveling in the fact that those who wanted to curb a woman’s right to choose didn’t make it to the Oval Office.
However, after the warm glow subsides, the reality of working to regain traction on ground that was lost during the Bush administration will set in. With a president in the White House who understands and accepts a woman's right to reproductive justice, the focus will now entail a reexamination of the multitude of factors that are part of the larger picture.
As the economic crisis looms large, women need to be able to connect the dots from
financial empowerment to their health care issues. In two recent events sponsored by the American Association of University Women, I was able to hear speakers define the picture.
At the first, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) was the featured guest. The incoming Democratic chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues, she clarified that "we have to undo some things." She enumerated the "global gag rule, family planning money, and the conscience clause." The latter she compared to "hiring a fire fighter that won't go into a burning building."
With the goal of expanding paid and medical leave, childcare resources, and retirement issues...it all comes down to money. That conversation was taken up in a press call sponsored by AAUW featuring women's advocate, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Dem-Ct.).
While the Lily Ledbetter Act has received a lot of recognition, the Paycheck Fairness Act --
which ensures women a second avenue to pursue discrimination claims -- is not as visible to the general public.