The editors of Ms. have concluded that President Barack Obama made “giant strides for women” during his first 100 days by reversing some of the Bush administration’s most flagrantly conservative policies and by making the advancement and empowerment of women a priority. “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 Ms. publisher Eleanor Smeal in a press release. “In employment, reproductive rights, and global women’s rights, thus far he is keeping his promises.” Find out the key Obama administration actions for women and children after the jump.
Jan. 23: Overturned the “global gag rule,” helping fund international family-planning organizations again.
Jan. 29: Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring a 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 the healthcare, child care, and education fields, traditionally women-heavy, with a $787 billion economic stimulus package. Increased Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment benefits.
Feb. 27: Moved to rescind the Bush Administration’s “conscience” clause, which would have let health care workers deny patients abortion and contraception.
March 2: Chose Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services secretary, making her the seventh woman appointed to cabinet-level positions in this administration.
March 6: Instituted a new ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.
March 9: Lifted restrictions on stem cell research.
March 11: Established the White House Council on Women and Girls. Restarted U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund, which “promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.” Made low-cost birth control available at college health centers and some 400 clinics serving low-income women.
March 19: Pledged to sign a U.N. declaration that would decriminalize homosexuality, which Bush refused to sign.
March 20: Elena Kagan, an Obama appointee, confirmed as the first woman Solicitor General.
April 3: Obama calls Afghanistan’s proposed Shia Family Law, which negates the need for sexual consent between a husband and wife, approves child marriage, and restricts a woman’s right to leave her home, “abhorrent.”
April 23: To date, Obama’s appointments to posts needing senate confirmation were 32 percent female, with women of color making up a substantial portion.
[via Ms. magazine]