- 12/1/2008 Nominates Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State
Obama announces nomination of Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Confirmed by the Senate on Jan 21, 2009. Secretary Clinton has put the issues and rights of women around the globe in the forefront of US foreign policy.
- 1/23/2009 Issues Executive Order Repealing Global Gag Rule
Issues an executive order repealing the Global Gag Rule, which prohibited overseas family planning programs that receive US aid from using non-US monies for abortion counseling, advocacy, and/or referrals.
- 1/23/2009 Pledges and does restore funding of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Restores funding of programs that improve access and quality of reproductive health care including family planning, prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula, and the prevention of STDS such as HIV/AIDS.
- 1/26/2009 Nominates First Woman Solicitor General
Obama nominates Elena Kagan to solicitor general. She is confirmed on March 29th.
- 1/29/2009 Signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
The Ledbetter Act corrects the Roberts Supreme Court decision that gutted the ability of women workers to sue for wage discrimination under Title VII.
- 2/4/2009 Signs the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2009 (SCHIP)
Expands government health insurance to cover 11 million children.
- 2/17/2009 Passes Economic Stimulus Package
Saves and creates jobs in traditionally women-heavy fields- health care, child care, and education- in $787 billion economic stimulus package; also increases Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment benefits. Saves some 400,000 teachers’ jobs and estimated to save or create 3.7 million jobs, 1.5 million or 42% of which are for women.
- 3/2/2009 Appoints Most Diverse Cabinet in History
On this date, Kathleen Sebelius becomes the 7th woman appointed to Obama’s cabinet as Secretary of Health and Human Services, joining Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen G. Mills. Obama’s cabinet is the most diverse cabinet in history, with the highest number of women named to the cabinet or cabinet level positions in a first term.
- 3/6/2009 Institutes New Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues
- 3/11/2009 Creates White House Council on Women and Girls
Council is responsible for coordinating federal response to the challenges facing women and girls. Council chair is Valerie Jarrett and Executive Director is Tina Tchen.
- 3/11/2009 Signs FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act
Reinstates low-cost birth control availability at college health centers and at some 400 clinics serving low-income women.
- 3/19/2009 Supports UN Declaration on Human Rights
Pledges to sign UN declaration to decriminalize homosexuality, which President Bush refused to sign.
- 4/6/2009 Appoints first Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues
Melanne S. Verveer became the first ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. Ambassador Verveer is Director of the Department of State’s first Office on Global Women’s Issues.
- 5/26/2009 Nominates Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court
She becomes the third woman and first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court.
- 6/26/2009 Appoints Advisor on Violence Against Women
Lynn Rosenthal is appointed as first White House violence against women advisor.
- 7/24/2009 Announces US Will Sign United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
President Obama announces the US will sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at a ceremony commemorating the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- 7/31/2009 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Signed
Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, signs the United Nations Convention (Treaty) on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN Headquarters.
- 10/30/2009 Ends HIV Travel Ban, Signed Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act
Starting in 1987, foreign nationals with HIV were banned from obtaining US visas or becoming permanent citizens. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act increases funding for HIV programs and continues funding the Minority AIDS Initiative.
- 12/16/2009 Signs the FY 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Act
The act includes several major gains for women’s health and civil liberties and eliminates traditional sources of funding for abstinence-only programs.
- 1/2010 Creates Equal Pay Task Force
Identifies weaknesses in current strategy, creates action plans to eliminate pay gap, and coordinates efforts between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management.
- 3/30/2010 Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
The act strengthens Pell Grants, increases investment and support of community colleges, MSIs, and HCUs, and improves federal student loans.
- 3/23/2010 Signs Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Commonly Known as Obamacare
This historic measure will provide health care insurance coverage to some 32 million uninsured people, including expanding Medicaid to an additional 16 million people, and closes the donut hole for the Medicare drug program. The ACA ends sex discrimination in health insurance, especially pricing discrimination for women who, on the average, pay 48% more than men for the same policy. It increases access to preventive care, including cancer screenings and contraception, without co-pays or deductibles. It also mandates maternity and prenatal coverage.
- 4/15/2010 Issues Presidential Memorandum on Hospital Visitation Rights
Reinforces patients’ visitation rights and right to designate visitors. Also reinforces that hospitals cannot deny visitation based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or nationality.
- 4/20/2010 Strengthens Title IX
Rescinds Bush-era sports policy regulation of Title IX that would have weakened programs for women athletes.
- 5/10/2010 Nominates Elena Kagan for Supreme Court
Kagan becomes the fourth female justice to ever serve on the Supreme Court.
- 6/2/2010 Extends Same-Sex Partner Benefits
Signs memorandum extending benefits, including health care coverage, to same-sex partners of federal employees.
- 7/16/2010 Unveils National HIV/AIDS Strategy
This is the first large-scale domestic AIDS relief program, aimed at lowering incidence of infection, increasing access to care, and promoting regular testing. The plan focuses on gay men, minorities, and women, all of whom have a higher incidence of the disease in the United States.
- 7/29/2010 Signed Tribal Law and Order Act
Increases communication between federal, state, and tribal law enforcement in order to help combat high rates of sexual assault and violence on Native American reservations.
- 10/28/2010 Signs Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
Act expands current hate crimes law to include violence based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. This is the first time women are included.
- 12/22/2010 Repeals Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Repeals policy that had prohibited the military from inquiring about a service member’s sexual orientation and called for the discharge of anyone who acknowledges being lesbian or gay.
- 2/22/2011 Repeals “Conscience” Rules
Rescinds the “conscience” rules, first instituted under the Bush administration, that granted protections to medical providers who refused to provide abortions, sterilization, in-vitro fertilization, and other medical procedures, such as care to AIDS patients, due to moral objections.
- 6/3/2011 Names Woman as White House Counsel
Names Kathryn Ruemmler White House Counsel, making her the second female White House Counsel in US history.
- 7/19/2011 Announces Support of Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
DOMA defines marriage as between one man and one woman and denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages, as well as the legal benefits attached to marriage, including Social Security survivors’ benefits, family and medical leave, and immigration rights.
- 8/23/2011 Issues Executive Order to Increase Diversity
Order aims to increase diversity in federal government. Obama also commended for diversity in federal appointments- 21% of appointees are African American and nearly 50% are women. Obama has also appointed more openly gay US officials than any other president.
- 9/9/2011 Introduces American Jobs Act
Act would benefit women by preventing about 280,000 teachers’ layoffs, 900,000 women-owned small businesses and numerous non-profit organizations whose workforces are largely comprised of women would benefit from a 50% cut in employer payroll taxes.
- 12/19/2011 Establishes National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security
Plan formalizes the nation’s commitment to promoting women’s role in conflict prevention and resolution.
- 1/6/2012 Supports and Achieves Change in Definition of Rape
Supports FBI’s change in definition of rape, dropping the word “forcible.” The new definition is: ”Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
- 1/20/2012 Does Not Broaden Religious Exemption for Birth Control Coverage
Employers, even religiously affiliated employers, must provide birth control coverage in health insurance plans without co-pays or deductibles. Only Houses of Worship are exempt from the ACA requirement. In an accommodation, the administration announced that if a religiously-affiliated institute objects, the insurance company or a third party administrator will provide the coverage for contraception directly to the employee or student without institutional involvement.
- 4/19/2012 Issues Memo Addressing Domestic Violence in Federal Agencies
Memo requires federal agencies to create comprehensive policies to assist employees who are victims of domestic violence.
- 5/9/2012 Supports Same Sex Marriage
Becomes the first President to publicly support same sex marriage.
- 5/17/2012 Requests Senate Ratify United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
President Obama officially requests that the US Senate ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- 6/15/2012 Announces Change in Immigration Policy to No Longer Seek Deportation of Young Undocumented Immigrants
Undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 without criminal records who came to the US as children will no longer be deported, but instead will be allowed to apply for work permits.
- 6/18/2012 Nominates and Senate Confirms Another Woman Federal Judge
The Senate confirms Mary Geiger Lewis to the US 4 the Circuit Court of Appeals. Obama has nominated more women to the federal bench than any other president in history, with some 41% of his nominees women and 45% of those nominees confirmed. Of the nominees, 35% have been people of color.
- 6/282012 Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upholds the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – an historic advance for women that will protect the lives and health of millions of women and their families each year and make our nation stronger and healthier.
- 8/1/2012 Preventive Care Package of ACA (Obamacare) Goes into Effect
The preventive care package for new insurance plans or policies, requiring no co-pays or deductible goes into effect. It includes cancer screenings, e.g. mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies, STI testing, and counseling; all FDA approved contraceptives (birth control pills, IUDs, injectables); well woman visits; prenatal care, breastfeeding supplies and counseling; and domestic violence screening and counseling.
to call it a lady anything is incredibly fucked up.
some ladies have penises. their penis is their lady part. you don’t have to have a vagina to be a lady.
some dudes have vaginas. you want to tell them they have a lady part? fuck you.
i am in no way ashamed to call myself a feminist but sometimes i am ashamed to be part of the feminist movement because y’all can be the worst. include non-ciswomen in your movement or you’re not actually fighting for equality.
We’ve been silenced already for so long, it’s time to keep speaking up, not give away our voices.
Plus, most anti-LGBTIAQQ will enjoy a day where they don’t have to hear the “faggots” speak.
And straight-allied (or at least open minded individuals ) people are the type of people who are really affected by this anyway, so why not just keep informing with the power of our voices? It would make it much easier.
I dunno, I just think it’s slacktivism. There are much better ways to enlighten people.
While the Privilege Patrol absolutely loves to whip out their favorite -isms as a defense in vegan debates, they, without fail, fail to name the most obvious and obscene system of oppression in history - speciesism.
Before you all sigh me to death, hear me out. We can all agree, hopefully, that the term itself is a valid one; the systematic disregard for the interest of other species based solely on the fact that non-human animals are not human animals (hereafter referred to as animals and humans respectively - It is an important quality to remember, however, because one needs to keep in mind that we are still members of that animal kingdom and what body your consciousness happened to drift its way into is, to someone on the outside looking in, an arbitrary divider created by humans, for humans ) and that fact alone entitles them to less ethical consideration regardless of individual-to-individual superiority. But something interesting happens when someone calls a vegan who expects everyone to adopt veganism a classist, racist or ableist – they contradict themselves without even realizing it. That unnoticed paradox is only understandable when one understands why speciesism is just as bad as those three -worse, even- and so that’s where we’ll begin.
What needs to be agreed upon before we even start is that animals are sentient. Animals are self-aware, have interests and react to stimuli. It needs to be acknowledged that there is empirical proof and documented scientific studies showing that animals, without question, can feel pain, nervousness, anxiety, fear, anger, love and even heartbreak. If you stick a pig with a knife, it does what it can to remove itself from that situation, demonstrating basic problem solving. If all the qualities that bar humans from the same horrific treatment that animals are subjected to are met, why then, if animals are equal in cognitive requirement, are animals raped, tortured and murdered for their milk, fur and meat? The answer is unquestionably anthropocentrism. When you place the interests of one species over another for no other relevant reason than their bodies, it can be nothing other than discrimination resting on the same logically flawed foundation as racism (and thereby classism, to an extent), ableism and misogyny.
Take, for example, cases in which a human has severe mental and physical disabilities. A hypothetical person, for the sake of argument, is not brain dead, but not far from it. This person is not able to function or survive without constant supervision. In contrast, a perfectly healthy cow, much smarter and more capable than this human, is slaughtered, ground up and fed to this disabled person who, despite no advantage over the cow in any mental or physical arena is shown immeasurably more consideration. This easily imagined (and currently happening) scenario is an example of what is called speciesism, which, as I hope we’ve established, is in the same vein of thinking as racism or ableism.
Ethical consideration is not derived from one’s mental capacity or physical ability, nor is it derived from the dice roll that is which body that sentience happened to find itself. Qualification for ethical consideration, to someone who, for example, is not a member of either group, is merely the ability to enjoy any benefit of that ethical consideration and that is, without any uncertainty, inclusive of non-human animals. If this were not true and ethical consideration was really earned by such uncontrollable factors, it is very likely that ethnic minorities and the disabled would find themselves in the slaughterhouses. This observation brings me to the overall point of this essay, and that is that labeling veganism a class/ethnic privilege, an able-bodied person privilege or any other type of privilege, is not only an inexcusable disregard for the obvious privilege that comes with the sheer luck of being human, it is in and of itself contradictory when one takes into consideration the fundamental ethical flaws in the mental process of the racist or the misogynist and how those flaws are paralleled and amplified when applied to victims whose faces we cannot read and whose voices we cannot understand.
When you call a vegan an ableist, you are asserting that it is insensitive to those physically and/or mentally unable to sustain a vegan lifestyle to use veganism as a measuring point of ethics, the rationale being that it is unethical to place any bearing on a person’s ability it any capacity because it is not something they themselves can control and to punish them for it causes undue distress and hurt feelings. Since we’ve established that anthropocentrism is analogous and at least equally morally reprehensible as any other form of systematic prejudice, when you make physical or mental capacity a protected subject and then turn around and use the argument that animals are less able to understand what is happening to them and are therefore less deserving of ethical consideration, you yourself are practicing ableism in addition to speciesism. Every time you defend a non-vegan lifestyle in support of humans at the expense of non-humans because of some perceived divide in ability to understand, that is ableism.
When you accuse a vegan of racism for the stalwart promotion of what you may consider white-centric movement, the first thing you need do is realize that penalizing a person for the body they were born in is not something they control and therefore is not something for which they should not be punished. Disagreeing with that statement is to stand on the same mental platform as every racist, ableist and sexist to ever exist, and that doesn’t even touch gender identity discrimination, or discrimination based on sexual orientation. Discrimination based on species is not racism, but it’s the other side of the same coin.
The second thing you need to do is take a step back and decide what you’re really trying to convey. Arguing that certain ethnicities are more apt or better suited physiologically or mentally for a vegan lifestyle is flat-out preposterous. It is not true. If one non-white person is vegan (and I promise you that there are many), racism can be tabled because it cannot be a quality of that ethnicity. If it were, there would be no non-white vegans. What you mean, in all probability, is that veganism is a classist movement and you mistakenly associated ethnicity with inherent social or economic class boundaries. We will use America as an example. In America, the lower-middle and low classes are made up of a disproportionate percentage of people of color. Conversely, higher echelons of class are undoubtedly predominantly white. Racism is assumed and obfuscated because of this gross gap between social classes which is perpetuated by the effects of gentrification and other racist components of capitalism. An easy enough mistake to make, for sure, but this does not make veganism an inherently racist movement, and that leads us to classism.
When you call vegans classist for expecting those who cannot afford to subsist off of strictly vegan diets you again unintentionally contradict yourself. When one thinks of the lower classes of a capitalist system, you are likely to think of a pyramid; the base being the lower class, support the tremendous weight of the classes above them who see the classes below them as unimportant, ignorable. Expendable.
What that ingrained anthropocentric disconnect provides, however, is a convenient cover for the foundation of the foundation: non-human animals. On the backs of beasts, as they were called, entire empires were erected, rising and falling at the cost of countless deaths that were completely erased from history because, without familiar faces and bodies or the ability to say they were not, they were never considered anything more than a objects. They were seen as products and tools; unimportant, ignorable. Expendable. The accusation that veganism is classist not only plagiarizes the toil and sacrifice of animals and claims those horrors as ones endured by the next tier up, it perpetuates the idea that these able-bodied, able-minded sentient beings, born into bodies they did not choose have no hand in our success. Their reward for this lifelong slavery is the affirmation that they are objects, death and the certainty that every generation after them will live and die exactly as they did; born into suffering, dying in agony. Complacency in this injustice is and always will be the perpetuation of the notion that those born below you deserve to be below you because without them holding you up, you’ll fall. These willing participants propel the very system they claim to be fighting against when they tell vegans to stop considering non-human animals as one would humans, again based on differences as arbitrary and unintended as race, their role in society, their aptitudes or their species. That is the very essence of classism and it brings with it ableist and anthropocentric equivalents that make you guilty of what you want to prevent. Unless, of course, you only intend on preventing discrimination against yourself, in which case expose yourself as a fraud who isn’t interested in justice unless they benefit from it.
So, in conclusion, please consider non-human animals when you try to defend people. Prejudice of all kinds is deplorable, but you cannot hope to eradicate one using another group’s assured domination as a vehicle to get to that point. While I will never personally know the true extent racism, sexism or ableism, veganism is not inherently prejudice against any group simply because it does not elevate one over the other. No one is unimportant, no one is ignorable and no one, regardless of where you’ve been pinned down, regardless of your body and regardless of your understanding of this world, is expendable.
If anyone has any questions, you are more than welcome to send me a message and I will do everything in my power to help you find the information you’re looking for or help clarify any part of this post. You may also feel free to send a message to agree or disagree, support or contest any argument made or just drop in to say hello.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your consideration.
This campaign from Halifax’s outreach program for sex workers, Stepping Stone, is so awesome that I said YES out loud when I saw the poster downtown.
Spread this around. It’s a great program and should be supported.
Can I just tell you that I love this? It’s upsetting to me that people don’t think of sex workers as people. They are our mothers, our brothers, our friends.