Women and Girls Only?
President Obama announced that he has established a new White House Council on Women and Girls. This mission of this new committee is "to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families." Issues such as equal pay, family leave, and childcare will be on the group's agenda.
On the one hand, this is yet a bit more tangible proof that our new Administration is taking family issues seriously and wants to put action behind Obama's campaign trail promises. Hooray! On the other hand, the title of this new Council is a bit dismaying. Why are these issues (except for equal pay) women's or girl's issues rather than parents' and children's issues?
Obama even says the right words himself: "...I want to be clear that issues like equal pay, family leave, child care and others are not just women's issues, they are family issues and economic issues. Our progress in these areas is an important measure of whether we are truly fulfilling the promise of our democracy for all our people. "
As long as we keep labeling these topics as 'women's and girl's' issues, we'll marginalize them. And heaven forbid that the solutions developed by this extremely worthy Council focus on just one gender! Come on, Obama - harness the power of BOTH parents!
Hat tip to Lisa Belkin for her the excellent coverage of this topic on the Motherlode blog.