December 17, 2008 / Uncategorized

A seat at the table


The New Agenda had a seat at the table when the nation’s largest women’s organizations met in Washington on Monday to discuss nominations for positions in the Obama administration.

The groups — which included Business and Professional Women (BPW), Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) — met in Washington, D.C., to determine a process to put forward the names of highly qualified women for top level roles throughout every federal agency and policy-making body.

The constellation of organizations that attended the meeting represent the interests of women in a range of fields, such as education, business, the law, finance / economics, social work, and issues pertaining to elder women.

Such meetings are a traditional feature of transition periods between White House administrations. The Washington, D.C., representatives of a diverse array of constituencies — Latinos, Asians, lesbian and gay people, labor, environmentalists, and so on — are each organizing their own discussions to pool information about nominees they might support. A number of individuals have volunteered to act as go-betweens to ensure communication between these ad hoc groupings. It is expected that in many cases, one nominee will be supported by a number of constituencies (such as a woman supported by the women’s, Latino, and gay and lesbian groups).

Like other women’s groups, The New Agenda will be putting forward the names of qualified candidates for a number of critical positions. We’re glad to have a seat at the table during these important talks. But we know that until women and men occupy an equal number of seats at the table of government, none of us can call ourselves truly politically empowered.

Stay tuned for further developments!

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  • Anna

    Right on and thank you! I look forward to hearing updates on this issue.

  • Nan

    Can we sign a petition? I am for women, any party inluding independent. I truly believe in the non-partisan aspect of the New Agenda and hope this will be stressed.
    Gender is key, and please carry this message forward.
    Aren’t a lot of the posts etc. already full?

  • Egallantry

    Thank you to everyone at The New Agenda.

    I know there is a toxic level of resistance out there to the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equality. I appreciate your efforts in pushing for positive change for women and girls (and for the men and boys who love us).

  • Nan

    meant to say also – please open a Twitter account and let us join you so we can get tweets during the prep and during the meeting. I will be excited and would love these micro-texts messages come into my phone. You send one message and all users get it, like text conference call.
    They work well – go to the site if you are not familiar. (I don’t work there or promote it – just a user of this cool trend.)
    It would be perfect for a day of meetings like this. Make us feel a part of the proceedings, take us with you.
    Tweets can go to people’s cell phones or computer. The only cost is that of a text message, and users can un-register if they want. Super low cost, no commitment of any kind.
    Please tweet.

  • PG

    FYI, Obama is about to announce the first permanent (non-interim) woman to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission. This is a crucial job at a time when Americans and indeed all people have serious doubts about the integrity of the financial system. While not a Cabinet post, it still requires Senate confirmation, and I hope the New Agenda will be supportive of Mary Schapiro.

  • Zee

    Good to know, PG, thanks.

    On the other hand, Tn Guerilla women has a post up…

    the man delivering the inaugural invocation for Obama is a pro-life homophobe.

    Listen for the crickets. As opposed to the shrill shrieks and gnashing of teeth that would’ve occurred and be blamed on Palin had her team done such a thing.

  • ER

    Wonderful to see the women’s groups coming together!

    Here’s an Action idea: In the “Your Seat at the Table” section of Obama’s website, you can view documents given to the Transition Team. The site notes:

    “To meet the Transition’s goals of transparency and openness, we’re giving all Americans a look at the documents from important meetings with outside groups. If you would like to have your materials considered for review by this community, you can submit those materials below. All materials submitted can be shown in their entirety on”

    Check out the types of materials posted by outside groups. You can download some of the documents, though I found some wouldn’t open. Here is the list that comes up when one searches by the category of ‘women’:

    Action idea: Could The New Agenda post something there? What about the other women’s groups? Perhaps all should come together and post a professional, data driven, factual statement (i.e., the numbers in the flyer, etc) including the need for a commission for women including a focus on equality, parity, rights, and Zero Tolerance for behaviors like Favreau’s, etc.

  • goesh

    Another feather in the cap and more exspsure and credibility – congrats and all this in but a few short short months.

  • PG


    Could you name a minister who has delivered the invocation at an inauguration who *hasn’t* been pro-life and anti-same-sex marriage? Bill Clinton twice had Billy Graham, who is an abortion prohibitionist and an opponent of same-sex marriage. His son Franklin, who now runs Graham’s ministry, and the magazine of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, both have endorsed the Federal Marriage Amendment to prevent states from deciding for themselves whether to allow same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc.

    Obama is having a minister who was a leader in the civil rights movement, and who also endorses LGBT rights (as does Obama’s controversial former pastor the Rev. Wright), the Reverend Dr Joseph E Lowery, delivery the benediction at the inauguration. Clinton had Graham also deliver the benediction at the 1993 inaugural, and the Rev. Gardner C. Taylor deliver the benediction at the 1997 inaugural. While Rev. Taylor at least has not been overtly opposed to LGBT rights, neither has he spoken in favor of them.

  • Zee

    Fair enough, PG. I can tell you one thing the Clintons didn’t have, tho.

    They didn’t have dedicated disseminators of misinformation and spin who follow each topic negative to them and go to every outlet discussing it and try to counterspin it.

    Obama certainly is taking the example of the rightwing “think tank” complete with dedicated ministers of the talking point of the day, hm?

    Obama promised to be different, to bring change.

    It’s on him and he’s failing and he’s particularly failing with regards to women.

  • Zee

    Oh, yes, and thank you, New Agenda, for getting a seat at that table.

    I look forward to the reports back on that.

  • PG

    “they didn’t have dedicated disseminators of misinformation and spin who follow each topic negative to them and go to every outlet discussing it and try to counterspin it.”

    Could you point out what I have said that is “misinformation”? You keep insulting without actually debating. Insults make you look childish, and a failure to debate the points I raise makes it look like you have no actual retort, just ad hominem attacks.

  • Zee

    The topic is Obama, not the Clintons. Try to stay on topic. Unless your topic IS distracting from Obama’s failiings by pointing elsewhere.

    Nice effort, tho!

  • PG


    I’m guessing that you’ve not had any training in legal thinking. In the law, there is a concept called “precedent.” A new case is judged in large part by what has been decided in the past. You have offered zero examples of invocation-givers who were not anti-choice and anti-SSM. It is safe to say that anti-choice and anti-SSM pastors are a consistent precedent for the givers of the inaugural invocation. This is why Clinton, along with Bush II, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, et al., is relevant to this discussion.

    Therefore, if we are going to condemn Obama’s choice of pastor for the invocation, we ought to condemn Clinton’s choice as well, or should explain why it was OK for Clinton but is not OK for Obama. If we fail to condemn Clinton for doing what we condemn Obama for doing, we are showing wrongful bias.

    I have no problem for criticizing Obama and all past presidents for failing, in their choice of invocation-givers, to recognize the moral importance of the pro-choice and pro-SSM position. Can you do the same, or will you choke on anything less than complimentary about someone with the last name Clinton?

  • Zee

    PG, you can have the last word, last LENGTHY word, since that is the typical MO of “think tank” um, …professionals… but unless you stick to Obama without dragging in the Clintons to bash and distract from the topic, which is OBAMA and not the Clintons, no one cares how you coach your spiel.

    Another nice try, tho!

  • Thia, GA


    The only problem with your logic is that using your precedent argument

    “zero examples of invocation-givers who were not anti-choice and anti-SSM. It is safe to say that anti-choice and anti-SSM pastors are a consistent precedent for the givers of the inaugural invocation.”

    you can’t demand change in the future because of what was done in the past? We can’t change the past, only the present and future so I don’t see how it does any good to rehash the past and stir up old arguments. Lets focus on what we can do going forward. 🙂

  • PG

    No, you can demand change in the future, but if you demand that the current person do better, you have to admit that people in the past did wrong. If you continue to insist that they did nothing wrong, you lose a great deal of the force of argument in saying that if we continue the policy of the past, we are doing something wrong.

    Look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s arguments before the Supreme Court and her opinions as a Justice. She does not say that when the law discriminated against women in the past, that was A-OK. She says it was wrong then and we must remedy that wrong.

  • PG

    Oh, and Thia, thank you for making a thoughtful counter-point. I appreciate talking with people who can do more than throw out insults.

  • Thia, GA

    I’ll admit right now that every President we have ever had has screwed women over. Some have been worse than others but I won’t defend any of them specifically on the issue of women’s rights.

    In the future… 🙂

  • PG


    Thanks for your intellectual honesty. I agree that we need to hold all presidents to account for their treatment of women and demand that Obama *up* the game instead of playing the same one his predecessors have. Given his willingness to appoint women to some of the most important positions for a Democratic president (State, Labor) and for the challenges we currently face (SEC, Homeland Security), I am hopeful that he will step it up. However, even more important than elevating a few individual women is pressing him to endorse a renewed push for the Equal Rights Amendment.

  • Thia, GA


    Agreed. As to your last statement, I’m greedy I want both!