This Woman’s Work


My family and I are lucky.

I am a working mom.

A working woman.

A female voter.

As BlogHer Contributing Editor American Princess put it, part of the demographic that will have a “profound effect on the outcome of November’s election.”

Like many Americans I recently went from “stay-at-home-mom who could stand to make some extra cash on the side” to “I need a job and I need it now to make ends meet in this house.”

Like many Americans we recently got the notice from my husband’s work that spouses and dependents will no longer be covered by the company’s health insurance.

Like many Americans I began to investigate what it would cost to buy myself and our two children insurance.

Like many Americans I promptly fainted.

And that’s just the start.

I seriously considered going back to work full time in my previous profession, but quickly realized that even with my years of experience I would not make as much as my husband is currently making.

Thus my very REAL interest in Senator Barack Obama’s plan to support working women and families.

Going over the plan it addresses all of my concerns: minimum wage, childcare credits, extending the Family Medical Leave Act, a middle class tax credit that would affect 70 MILLION WORKING WOMEN, health care, mortgage relief and even help saving for retirement.

SAVING? What’s that?

Being the diligent voter (newsjunkie and Political Director at helps) that I am, I didn’t have to wait long to see what Senator John McCain was offering me.

My first inkling was an email from Liz Mair, Online Communications Director of the RNC’s eCampaign Division:

“Women concerned about the economy and jobs, health care, rising gas prices and energy independence will have a choice between John McCain, a bold leader who has consistently delivered solutions for working women, and Obama, whose rhetoric consistently fails to match reality. Obama’s votes for higher taxes, plans to put more government between women and their doctors, and a do-nothing energy policy are not what women are looking for in this election—and that’s why so many of us are supporting John McCain.”

Now, there are several points here I am confused with like, well…all of it. I watched last week as MomsRising delivered 9-thousand resumes to Senator McCain’s office- why?

Ten DC-area moms sporting “Magnificently Overqualified Mother” banners, some of them accompanied by their kids, were up on Capitol Hill today to send a message to Senator John McCain about his opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. That message came in the form of some 9,000 resumes from mothers across the country underscoring women’s skills, training and education, and it was crystal clear: “women are well-trained, educated and qualified and should be paid the same as men for doing the same work.”

In late April, the U.S. Senate voted on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, legislation that would loosen the restrictions on the length of time in which workers could file pay discrimination claims against their employers. On the campaign trail at the time, Senator John McCain refused to return to Washington, DC to vote on the measure (unlike two other U.S. Senators who were also campaigning for President), commenting instead that he opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and that what women really needed was “more training and education.” Ultimately, a filibuster in the Senate prevented the bill from coming to a vote. The bill did pass in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Then came word from the McCain camp: “When you consider women are a major driving force behind small business start-ups in this country, Barack Obama’s proposals to raise taxes on millions of small businesses isn’t going to help women voters,”-campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker.

Now here is what I know about Senator McCain: He opposed equal pay while talking down to my gender, he opposed the Children’s Health Insurance Program, he has an entire page devoted to his “positions” over at Planned Parenthood that scares the hell out of me, and he voted to “suspend the Family and Medical Leave Act unless the federal government certified that compliance would not increase business expenses or provide financial assistance to businesses to cover any related costs.

Marjorie at m-pyre says, “I’m also getting a little tired of the notion that Democrat women won’t vote for Obama because he won the primary. They will vote for him, overwhelmingly. To suggest otherwise, to me, suggests that women as a group don’t make rational choices in their own best interests. To support Clinton out of gender solidarity is a fine thing, given the two fine choices in the end, but it doesn’t follow that McCain is better on women’s issues than the winner of that contest–Barack Obama. And women know it.”

Just this week I was listening to an Obama campaign conference call on energy policy while simultaneously making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my children and wiping up a milk spill. I honestly don’t have time for any candidate who isn’t clear on how they will help ME and MY family.

At the very least, Senator Obama is offering me specific details on how his plans will affect women. 70 million women in his tax cut alone. All I am seeing from Senator McCain is my need for “education and training.”

Crossposted at BlogHer


  1. We entered this race with baggage, the increasing perilous nature of our economy makes it imperative that these men address the fundamental issues we are facing. I still have the heart and spirit of an optimist, but must admit the past year has taken its toll. I hope that once we cast our votes we can look forward to redirecting “our course.”

  2. Petman and I are forced to purchase our own health insurance. It is not what I would call affordable. I’ve been trying to offset costs by stretching $ as far as it will go, but it’s very sad when you have to choose between food and health insurance.

    Something needs to be done.

  3. What a scary thing! I continue to be astonished that Americans have tolerated this for so long. I think it’s because it used to be that only poor people had insurance problems, or those facing catastrophic situations. As businesses cut back, more and more people are affected. As awful as is, at least maybe it will put all the passively upset about “those poor people who don’t have insurance” into an OH MY GOD mode and get us past all the special interests who have prevented the change so far. I’ve met some insurance industry lobbyists and, well, they’re tough, nasty folks. Really.
    Erin, thanks though for the proactive approach of bringing this great comparison to all of us.

  4. I cannot understand that email from McCain’s camp. Wha? McCain is NOT the working woman’s friend. Proven time and again. Education and training, my ample ass.

    Sorry, I tend to get frothy mouthed at PR Spin like that. And the health insurance thing scares the hell out of me. I’m luckily in the position that either my job or my husband’s job can cover our family if something happens to one of our positions, but that’s not the case for everyone I know, and I have a friend who is facing the question of whether or not she can afford to start a family because she would have to pay the entire prenatal care and maternity bill herself. If something more serious happens to her, like an accident of a disease diagnosis, I wonder what kind of crunch she’d be in then. That’s just for one person!

    Thanks for the link to that article on Obama’s plan for working women. Off to read it now.

  5. I meant “OR a disease diagnosis.” Duh.

  6. Queen of Spain says:

    Personally my favorite spin line is the bit about Obama putting more government between women and doctors… if we’re going to mistake WHICH candidate is anti-choice.

  7. Well said!

  8. Scary times, indeed. These are the very things that are at the top of my concern list when it comes to a presidential election.


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