For the third year in a row, the White House will host a conference to highlight women’s issues — and to tout all that this administration has supposedly done to advance the welfare of women in society:
The White House Council on Women and Girls is hosting the White House Forum on Women and the Economy where business leaders, education leaders, and Cabinet secretaries will discuss a gamut of issues from healthcare to workplace flexibility to help for small businesses run by women. President Obama will address the diverse group of participants when he gives the keynote remarks in the morning session.
There will also be breakout sessions where there will be further discussions on ways to help women’s lives better through economic and social policy. Several Cabinet secretaries, like Attorney General Eric Holder and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will lead panel discussions.
The White House will also be releasing a 55-page report on all the ways various departments and agencies have implemented policies to benefit women. Some examples of those initiatives are focusing on equal pay for women, affordable college education, tax cuts that benefit women, and healthcare policies, like the recent controversial coverage of contraceptives.
Conservative women see through the ruse. For weeks, the administration has reduced issues of concern to women to just one — the question of whether insurers will be made to cover the costs of women’s contraception. What the White House is, perhaps, belatedly realizing is that women care about more than just birth control. As the nation’s fastest-growing segment of small-business owners, they care about the business climate created by tax and regulatory policy. As moms who fill the gas tank to drive their kids to school, they care about energy prices and education policy. As single young women saving for their futures, they care about the coming implosion of entitlement programs. Women’s political “issues,” in other words, are really not very different from men’s “issues” — even though women themselves are different than men. At the same time that the president insists that women should be members at Augusta, he plays identity politics in a way that marginalizes the women he reduces to gender alone.
Smart Girl Politics co-founder Teri Christoph says it like this: “Women are tired of the political manipulation of this White House. We know when we are being pandered and played to, and we will no longer allow this discussion to focus on the concerns of a small segment of the women in this country. Women are far more concerned with the lack of action from this Administration and a do-nothing Congress when it comes to jobs, rising energy prices, and our national security.”
SGP yesterday released a video to tell the White House: You don’t speak for us. Refreshing to know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Who speaks for me? I do.