Finally, Global Women's Issues Get Some Attention

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Lilly Ledbetter.

Coverage of pregnant women under SCHIP.

And now, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women's Issues.

Women's profiles are rising, finally, now that we are in a Barack Obama administration and this step by the Senate to create a subcommittee to focus on the varied plights of women around the world can only be described as exciting and much past due, even if they couldn't come up with a slightly easier or catchier name. I have no problem excusing that unwieldy monicker given the work that this subcommittee, that will be chaired by California Senator Barbara Boxer, is going to take on.

I know we have a lot of things we have to worry about here in the United States -- the economy, infrastructure, and health care, just to name a few. But in comparison, we have a pretty cushy life compared to how many other women around the world live.

The state of women around the world has been in free fall over the last eight years -- women and girls being persecuted in Afghanistan for wanting to work or get an education, women being stoned to death if accused of adultery and women being denied full information about reproductive health if their countries received funds from the United States. Not to mention maternal mortality, trafficking of women and girls, and mass rape. Yeah, there are a few things impacting women around the world that our bully pulpit might come in handy for.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced, as she was taking her new office, that one of her priorities would be improving the situation of women around the world, and now the Senate is going to make sure it can help out.

This is HUGE for women around the globe. But you'd never know it from the news coverage, or lack thereof. If not for my Google reader, I would have missed the piece in the New York Times announcing the creation of the Senate subcommittee on Global Women's Issues.

Fortunately, it didn't go unnoticed by Jill Miller Zimon, who I usually read at Writes Like She Talks, as she commented at the The Moderate Voice:

 

[F]or all its newness, there’s extremely little coverage of the announcement, not even at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s website - which is quite uninspiring, to say the least. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s been an otherwise busy news day - stimulus, [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg, [Hilda] Solis, [Leon] Panetta, bad economic numbers - again, or some other reason.

So - what do you want them to do? Do first? Not do at all? While it’s shocking that it’s never been created before, it’s even more depressing that we need one at all. I would say this is another example of how having women in leadership positions makes a positive difference.

 

I have to agree. During the 2008 presidential campaign, many people wondered if it really mattered whether a "feminist" president was a man or a woman. On some things, maybe not. But when it comes to issues that are uniquely female, I believe it does make a difference to have someone with two 'X' chromosomes taking the lead.

Nicholas Kristof's New York Times blog about the announcement suggested that this would be a mission he'd like to see FLOTUS Michelle Obama lend her name to.

That makes two of us. Of course, it now looks like we need a subcommittee to focus on the money that Congress wants to cut out of programs that impact women right here.

Don't get me started.

BlogHer News & Politics Contributing Editor Joanne Bamberger also hangs out around the blogosphere as PunditMom. You can also find her getting her politics on at MOMocrats, The Huffington Post and MomsRising, among others!

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