How did 100,000,000 women go missing?

(cross-posted at kickin it with cg and motley moose)

Obama's speech in Cairo this week was brilliant and the warmth with which he was received was a wonder to behold. However some were disappointed with the length and breadth in which the President touched on human rights and specifically women's rights. Responding to Obama's reference to the hijab in his speech, Peter Doau asks:

Is that a joke?

With women being stoned, raped, abused, battered, mutilated, and slaughtered on a daily basis across the globe, violence that is so often perpetrated in the name of religion, the most our president can speak about is protecting their right to wear the hijab? I would have been much more heartened if the preponderance of the speech had been about how in the 21st century, we CANNOT tolerate the pervasive abuse of our mothers and sisters and daughters.

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NJ-04: Smith Rejected Equal Work for Equal Pay-Lilly Ledbetter

Cross-posted at Blue Jersey.

Chris Smith likes to say that he's an independent voice who doesn't vote along party lines. Smith also claims to be pro-worker, pro-union, and pro-woman. Well, here's one vote that demonstrates that he is none of those things.

Smith, along with 99% of House Republicans, voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007. The bill passed the House 225-199, as virtually all Democrats voted in favor of it, but it was filibustered by George Bush and Chris Smith's allies in the Senate. [HR 2831, Vote #768, 7/31/07] Smith, Christopher (NJ/R) N

Lilly Ledbetter suffered wage and gender discrimination at her job but could not sue because the existing law is outdated and poorly written. The Lilly Ledbetter Act that Chris Smith voted against would ensure that workers who face wage discrimination, the majority of whom are women, are able to protect their right to equal work for equal pay. It is a travesty that women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar that men earn on the job. Equal pay for equal work is not only an issue of fundamental fairness, it's an absolute necessity if we want to reward hard work and encourage personal responsibility. Apparently, Chris Smith doesn't share those American values.

"In this time of exploding prices for gas and basic necessities, job losses, and the collapse in the value of our homes, it is unconscionable to think that our government would favor corporations who knowingly discriminate against women or any employee by paying some workers less than others for doing the same work. Yet that is exactly what Chris Smith did with this vote." said Josh Zeitz campaign manager Steve D'Amico.

The campaign is entering a critical phase and we need your support. You can contribute at Josh's ActBlue page. If you'd like to volunteer, please contact ian_at_joshzeitz_dot_com. Please visit Josh's website to learn more about why we need to elect Josh to Congress.

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Our Sexism Problem

Has anyone noticed the recent explosion of solidarity and outrage among women Democrats over the sexist treatment in the media of Hillary Clinton during this primary season?  MYDD regulars would say this is something that has been an issue among Clinton supporters for a long while, but in terms of national coverage, we seemed to have turned some kind of corner, reached critical mass.  There was an excellent discussion with folks from Emily's List and NARAL Pro Choice America yesterday, for example, on Talk of the Nation, the NPR program.  There was the New York Times article earlier this week, and now all the morning shows are talking about it today.

In my advocacy for Barack Obama, here and among my friends, I've always tried to keep a cool head about the nature of this primary, remembering that Clinton is not some kind of evil enemy, but a fellow Democrat.  Sometimes, I've been very frustrated with Clinton tactics, things that made me want to lash, and in some cases to actually lash out in anger.  But I've also always tried to refrain from the type of casual sexism (and the not-so-casual, bordering on vitriolic kind) that one often hears thrown around about powerful women.  

As much as I often regret the sort of "gotcha" PC atmospherics which surrounds our public discourse on matters relating to identity politics, I'm also quite aware of the utility of this line.  Yesterday on Talk of the Nation, Elizabeth Shipp eloquently made the point that open sexism is one of the last frontiers of public bigotry in this country (though, I'm quite sure that heterosexism ought to be included in that category as well).  One in five Kentucky and West Virginia voters notwithstanding, America has by and large become a place where--at least in mainstream public discourse--open racism is frowned upon.  We have a ways to go before we get there with sexism and heterosexism, I'm afraid.  

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