The state of the economy is always a pivotal issue in a Presidential election year, and this year is no different. Candidates are well aware of this and as we draw closer to the November election each candidate has begun to devote more time to stump speeches that address topics ranging in scope from taxes and the national debt to the unemployment rate and the right to work movement. This year, however, women’s employment has joined the ranks as a campaign season hot topic.
President Obama, no different than the other candidates, and is using every opportunity to tout why he is the best-equipped candidate to improve our economy. President Obama, like all incumbent presidents, has an advantage over the other candidates as he has the ability to use taxpayer dollars to target key voters through official White House events. After an early April USA Today/Gallup poll showed President Obama with a 54%-36% lead over Mitt Romney, President Obama took advantage of his special campaign resource and quickly pulled together a White House Forum on Women and the Economy to highlight all the efforts his Administration “has taken to lift up the lives of women and girls in this country.” The event, held on April 6th, celebrated a declining unemployment rate and served as a platform for the unveiling of a White House report titled, Keeping America’s Women Moving Forward, which details the many ways the Obama Administration has created jobs for women and provided for women’s economic security.
While events such as the White House Forum are normally tainted with clandestine campaign pitches, President Obama blatantly informed attendees that various Republican polices would harm this country by reversing the progress that has been made in improving the economic status of women since he took office.
Ironically, the date of the Forum coincided with the release of a report by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research which showed that the jobs gained by women have significantly lagged behind the gains made by men. Specifically, “since June 2009 when the recession officially ended, men have gained 88 percent (2.0 million) while women have gained only 284,000 (12 percent) of the jobs added to payrolls.”
Regardless of which end of the political spectrum you may be on, the reality is that the economic downturn has taken a significant toll on the employment of women. Let’s hope that the person who is elected President in November, regardless of whether that is Obama or a Republican candidate, gives as much effort to actually addressing this issue as they have to using it as a means to gain media attention.