AAUW Report: Obama at 100 Days

April 29, 2009

It seems like just yesterday that millions of people were braving a deep January freeze to witness President Obama’s inauguration. Hard to believe, but on this late April day, President Obama marks his 100th day in office.

In keeping with the spirit of the day — the 100th day of a presidential administration has historically been regarded as a bellwether of sorts — AAUW has released a progress report on the Obama administration’s actions with respect to AAUW priority issues. The report delves into critical issues including pay equity, job security, reproductive rights, education, and work-life balance; offers a close look at the administration’s progress; and identifies areas where more work can be done.

AAUW believes that the Obama administration had some important achievements during its first 100 days, from the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to the creation of the White House Council on Women and Girls. The administration has taken a number of AAUW-supported steps toward improving gender equity that will strengthen women’s economic security and expand educational opportunities for women and girls. The signing of the Ledbetter bill in particular — an important step forward in the fight for pay equity and the first bill President Obama signed into law — was a notable achievement.

In addition to documenting the first 100 days, the report offers several recommendations for future action. The Ledbetter bill, for instance, was just a first step in the fight to achieve pay equity. As the report describes, the Senate must join the House and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act — and the president must sign the bill — to put the next critical component in place to make real progress on pay equity.

The Obama administration has made progress in other areas as well. The economic recovery package, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, makes significant investments in higher education, extends tax credits for working families, and offers additional financial assistance to those currently out of work. The administration also took a number of actions that will help make college more affordable and further protect women’s reproductive rights.

AAUW looks forward to working with the administration on additional priority issues. After all, the 100th day gets a lot of press, but the 101st day (and all the days beyond) is just as important. As one key example, AAUW will continue to press the administration for a commitment to protect and strengthen Title IX, the landmark education law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs. AAUW will also be looking to the administration to live up to its campaign promises to not support school vouchers as part of its overall education reform plan — including those in Washington, D.C.

Lisa Maatz, AAUW’s director of public policy and government relations, says it best: “No administration can accomplish all of its goals or meet all expectations in this short time frame, but we are largely pleased with the direction in which the Obama administration has gone so far, and we will continue to make our case to the administration, Congress, and the American people.”

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