March 11, 2009 / Uncategorized

The Daily Beast: Is Valerie Jarrett Anti-Woman?


The New Agenda’s Amy Siskind wrote the following piece that was published in The Daily Beast.  Many excerpts were comments taken from The New Agenda blog.

President Obama’s choice to lead the newly created White House Council on Women and Girls has done virtually nothing to advance women’s rights. We should support her anyway.

Today President Obama signed an executive order creating a White House Council on Women and Girls. The President’s Council will have as its mandate: “To provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families.” Women should be cheering, right? Not so fast. Why are so many feminists up in arms about the choice of Valerie Jarrett to chair the Council?

One comment on our blog read: My concern with Valerie Jarrett is that I don’t think she has been “kicked to the curb” enough.

For many women, even the mention of Valerie Jarrett is feminist dynamite. Jarrett was among President Obama’s inner circle during the 2008 Presidential Campaign—a campaign which took down two promising female candidates along the way. Forgive and forget? Not for many women on both sides of the aisle. Somehow this pick by President Obama has stepped smack dab into the middle of one of the most argued notions of the current women’s rights movement: Can a woman who does not support other women be a feminist?

I wrote a piece for The New Agenda blog last night after seeing my email inbox fill with angry protests about President Obama’s selection of Jarrett. The grounds for their dismay were many, and the comments are raw and telling. First and foremost was the notion that Jarrett is perceived to be a major villain in the plot to bring down then Senator Clinton and Governor Palin: Did Jarrett stand up when Obama was using sexism, when the democratic party was and the media was throwing mud and spitting in our faces? No she did not. Second, feminists ask: Where’s the beef? Show me something, I mean anything, on Jarrett’s resume that demonstrates the vaguest commitment to women’s rights: I’ve been trying to find the answer to this question myself. Can anyone point to any work Jarrett has done to advance women’s equality?Third, Jarrett is still linked to the Chicago style scandals that plague politicians from that city (some rightfully and some wrongfully): She does have her detractors, and is a highly or lowly regarded slum landlady from Chicago. And finally, women feel that Jarrett is not in touch with our needs. One comment on our blog read: My concern with Valerie Jarrett is that I don’t think she has been “kicked to the curb” enough to understand the depth and breadth of the problems that women in this country face.

See the rest of the story at The Daily Beast

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