Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm going to like this woman....


The Harvard-trained lawyer, community organizer and hospital executive offered a glimpse of what's to come when her husband, President Barack Obama, on Thursday signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which gives women more legal standing to sue for pay discrimination. The first lady was in the audience, not at the president's side — but she spoke at the private reception afterward.

She told representatives of about 150 advocacy groups that the legislation is a "cornerstone of a broader commitment to address the needs of working women who are looking to us, to not only ensure that they're treated fairly, but also to ensure that there are policies in place that help women and men balance their work and family obligations without putting their jobs or their economic security at risk.''

Obama's aides like to say that she'll be a mother first and an advocate second. The economic crisis and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could put workplace policy on the slow track anyhow. Because she's the nation's first black first lady and grew up working-class, however, activists say that Michelle Obama can be a trusted voice for minorities while reshaping how whites see women of color and how society regards its obligations to working parents.

Feminist leaders expect that she'll be more hands-on about policy than Laura Bush was, but won't follow Hillary Clinton's attempt as first lady to lead a White House initiative on health care.

The first lady's chief of staff, Jackie Norris, said in an interview that Michelle Obama is a daily presence in her East Wing offices and is beginning to build relationships with federal employees and District of Columbia residents.

Her staff holds daily morning meetings and is establishing a weekly session for assessment and long-term planning.


Anonymous said...

She is amazing, and wonderful. I think they both complement one another incredibly well.

And I keep thinking how those girls are growing up in the White House and with such parents, they are going to be able to do so much with their lives to change the world.

We all have a stake in the future; let's make it a good one together.

ellroon said...

Amen, Mahakal!