Saturday Round Up: Obama Sees Women’s Economic Power in Jobs Speech

by Gloria Feldt on September 10th, 2011
in Carpe the Chaos, Inspiration, Leadership, No Excuses, Politics, Power Tools, Workplace and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


The big presidential “Jobs Speech” has been delivered, and Obama’s now on the road to garner support.

Expectations were high for this speech. The most important takeaway from my perspective was that Obama’s passion had returned, and his energy was higher than we’ve seen in a long while. Finally, after years of tossing the agenda setting responsibility to a Congress functionally unable to lead, he presented a specific proposal and exhorted Congress in no uncertain terms: “Pass this Jobs Bill.” Thank goodness. Even the Republicans responded with a more respectful and measured rhetoric afterward. This week’s Round Up offers a selection of pieces that respond to the speech. What did you think about it? Please share.

In The Daily Beast’s sampling of responses “Will It Work?” top economists shared their reaction to the plan, and predictably there was both support and skepticism that this will be the plan will solve the crisis.

I found Brooklyn based writer, photographer and Professor of English Syreeta McFadden’s piece “Let’s Meet the Moment. Let’s Get to Work.” interesting. She echoed the concern of many that while the speech was full of Obama enthusiasm, the the president and the leaders in inside the Beltway don’t appear to “have a clue” about what it’s going to take to redefine job growth for this new American century and said she “felt pandered to”.

“ I suppose I wanted Obama to level with me (the American people, labor) and say: ‘The jobs you had are not coming back. It’s time to embrace new possibilities. Have you considered returning to school? Have you thought of working with your hands? Perhaps there’s an idea that we could fund that would be to benefit of us all? Let’s build something.’ Or: ‘Employers, to remain competitive in the global economy, you’re going to need to innovate your business practices. It also means that you must take a risk: you must train your new hires to be competitive in this new economy. You may also want to check your biases towards the long term unemployed at the door. Invest in them and they’ll invest in you. Seriously. Everyone’s got to eat…’ Or: ‘Graduates of 2009-2011, help is on the way. We certainly didn’t train you for this.’ Or: ‘Work is changing. Gone are the careers and jobs of your parents and grandparents. Over the next two decades, you will all become specialized workers, and independent.”

In contrast, here is a tone of activism and more optimism in “The American Jobs Act and Young Female Entrepreneurs” have decided to “Carpe the Chaos” – including a summary from the Fact-Sheet from the White House that they felt “are the more relevant to the young, female entrepreneur.”

“As young, American women we have a duty to be informed of what is going on in the world around us. As business owners, on top of staying current in consumer, industry, and business trends we must also be actively involved in knowing what is being discussed in our government. Our livelihoods can depend on government policy: taxes, health care, regulations, and more. Last night President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress presenting the American Jobs Act. What is your plan for making sure your elected officials represent your best interests?”

Big breakthrough IMO: The president acknowledged (for the first time I can remember any president doing in a major speech) specifically the role of women in driving the economic engine, and from a political power perspective obviously gets his need to curry the favor of women voters. Within minutes after the speech, the White House sent out this Fact-Sheet about the impact of the American Jobs Act targeted to women whom the White House apparently believes could help carry the message of “PASS THIS BILL” to successful passage–and perhaps to the ballot box in 2012. Note the references to materials and studies from several major women’s groups. Way to influence and take leadership, sisters!

“Today nearly two-thirds of women are breadwinners or cobreadwinners for their families, so it’s critical that any plan for recovery and job growth include opportunities for women. To create jobs for these women, and help women business owners expand, the President unveiled the American Jobs Act – nearly all of which is made up of ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and that Congress should pass right away to get the economy moving now.”

So while clearly this is just the beginning of this political battle, when I was asked by Politico: The Arena “Will Obama’s jobs plan work?” I said I, too, was relieved to see the passion back in Obama. The caveat from a leadership perspective is this: he certainly changed the tone, but he has yet to change the conversation.

What are your thoughts about the Jobs Bill and the work ahead?

Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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