Key Points From Obama’s State Of Union Address That Are Important To Women And Pretty Much Everybody
Tuesday night, the President gave his State of the Union address — and he discussed a number of the issues important to women, like equal pay and affordable childcare. Let’s take a look at what this means for women.
What he said: "This Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It's 2015."
How it will change things: This statement doesn’t lay out a precise plan or policy to achieve pay equality. However, the fact that the issue is enough of a priority for this administration to mention in the SOTU is, hopefully, a good sign.
How it affects the bigger picture: While Obama’s speech didn’t put forth a concrete policy, continuing to make equal pay a part of the national discourse is certainly a positive step that could help gain public support for a more specific policy.
What he said: "In today's economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It's not a nice-to-have – it's a must-have. It's time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women's issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us."”
How it will change things: President Obama plans for working mothers to be eligible for tax cuts, and to help states adopt policies that will allow for paid sick and maternity leave.
How it affects the bigger picture: Traditionally, it has largely been women more than men who have made career sacrifices, to some degree, in order to care for their families. The proposals the President put forth support the idea that this does not have to be the case. Perhaps, the USA can take a look at Sweden's success with national policies that empower and support parenting by men or women. It's interesting to note here that that Sweden has the highest rate of employment for women in EU.
The Right to Choose
What he said: "We still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs."
How it will change things: Again, there was no concrete policy put forth. But it seems that the President is at least looking for some common ground with those who oppose choice.
How it affects the bigger picture: On one hand, it is discouraging that the President’s comments in this issue were somewhat guarded. On the other hand, creating a dialogue is rarely a bad thing.
For more on the impact the President’s comments and proposals could have on women, take a look at these differing viewpoints.
Slate discusses the Republican response to the President’s comments on equal pay.
Business Insider explains the primary highlights of the speech.
Mic discusses the statements and policies from the speech that could most benefit women.