In the women’s movement, we talk a lot about giving women a voice. That’s fine, but we also need to make sure our voices are actually part of a conversation. That’s where a Presidential Commission on Women comes in. The Commission is the conversation – a national conversation – on the future of women in this country.
Indeed, women were at the center of the conversation in this election – Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, the key voting bloc, the backbone of the economy, and it went on from there. The election of 2008 was heralded at the "Year of the Woman," and in fact, without the womens’ vote, Barack Obama would not have been elected.
But now what? How do we keep women at the center of the conversation? It will be too easy, too convenient, for the new Administration to forget the role that women played in this election. We cannot let that happen.
In 1961, as the nation grappled with the issue of women in the workplace, JFK convened the first Presidential Commission on the Status of Women and appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as its chair. Kennedy recognized the moment was right. That was 47 years ago, and it’s time to do it again. As in 1961, women are at the forefront of our political discourse – and we are committed to keeping them there.
The Commission will bring together the best thinkers from all backgrounds, sectors and political parties to impact the future of women in our nation. The Commission itself will determine the substance and scope of its work, hold hearings, issue recommendations, and promote women in politics, in policy, and throughout our culture.
Now, here’s where Feminism 2.0 comes in. The Internet has transformed grassroots activism. Instead of organizing in living rooms, campaigns are forming online. Women must take advantage of the tremendous opportunities on the Web.
You can help by joining WomenCount’s call for the new Administration to create a Presidential Commission on Women in the first 100 days. Sign the online petition now.
Now is not the time to sit back. We must not let women retreat from the center of the conversation. We need a place for our voices to be heard. It’s our time.