Obama’s new ad on women and the economy

I appreciate that Obama has an ad explicitly addressing the impact of the economy on women.

And while you are at it check out Obama’s white paper on women and the economy. Also, Firedoglake has more about the impact that the economy is having specifically on women.

Join the Conversation

  • SarahMC

    I was actually a bit disappointed in this ad. Unfortunately, I don’t think the issue of pay discrimination can be addressed effectively in a brief tv ad. After seeing it, I had the feeling that the ad might actually move people (angry white guy types) TOWARDS McCain.
    There is just so much misinformation out there re: WHY the pay gay exists, and the gap is typically blamed on women themselves (for having babies, being unambitious, being poor workers, etc). I know McCain’s disastrous record on “women’s issues” needs to be addressed, but I’d have liked to see an ad comparing McCain/Palin’s record on sexual violence to Obama/Biden’s (Biden especially). Biden championed the VAWA and worked to make sure women don’t have to pay for rape kits, whilst McCain/Palin fought those very initiatives.

  • dan&danica

    “are paid just 77 cents to a dollar a man makes”
    Perhaps I’m just seeing it again because I see it so often but this does seem to me to be again using the 77 cent stat incorrectly. I showed this ad to a friend of mine and she said “its a damn shame a woman only makes 77 cents for the same job a man does”. Thats her take on what the 77 is getting at in this ad but its not the reality. Wage discrimination does exist but this stat is often used the wrong way.
    As sarahmc points out the wage gap exists for a lot of reasons and it fluctuates a lot too relative to where you live and what group you’re in. The overall stat is 77 but can be changed in any number of ways to reflect many arguments. The primary obstacle for me when it comes to the wage gap is the issue of fairness and all that entails but sarahmc is right in saying this ad will turn off some of the “dudes”.
    As far as blaming women for the pay gap, thats the hardest part of the fairness angle for me. If I get specific and go into the whole career-track vs. mommy track thing I just dont see a fair way around that where the person of either sex who takes time off to be with their kid wont fall behind. I extrapolate many things from that, its just hard and thats how many people feel who dont know a lot about this subject, you get the “then hire all women and cut your labor costs har har!” or “I dont know the answer but is gov’t regulation the best way to do it other than banning the practice which has already been done?”. its a tough one.

  • http://syndicateandhague.com saralovesyou

    @dan&danica
    You’re actually getting off track on the pay gap conversation. A substantial part of that 77 cents on the dollar figure is for the *same* job/*same* experience. There was a discussion of women in technologyish areas on here a while back and it was resounding that women with the same skills/same education as men were paid far, far less. That’s not “mommy gap” or anything like that. That’s straight up gender pay discrimination.
    For example, from personal experience, I discovered I was making 82 cents to the male dollar of a vast number of men at my organization who did the same sort of work – despite having an advanced degree when they did not, despite having equal to or more professional experience.
    I think it’s dangerous to focus on the excuses (women stay home to have kids! etc.) – when there are real, substantiated disparities in the same fields/same experience/same education (or even when women exceed the men’s experience/education).

  • puckalish

    dan&danica,
    the ad is 30 seconds long and the 77% number is an overall number… i don’t think it’s appropriate to break it down by industry in the ad itself. further, while i think the number is more likely about 80% these days, 77% came from the most recent complete census data (relevant to about two/three years ago), so that’s what’s used in the majority of research.
    also, saralovesyou’s point is pot on… if you look at industry-by-industry numbers, some are above and some are below the 77%… for full-time workers. so, while this number is vague (in that it refers to the entire US), it is certainly not inaccurate.

    As sarahmc points out the wage gap exists for a lot of reasons and it fluctuates a lot too relative to where you live and what group you’re in.

    yes, and this is an ad that runs all over the country to all people, black, latino, white, asian, rural, urban, suburban, working-class, academic, white collar, etc. so it’s best to use the most general number available.
    bottom line – it’s a campaign ad, only 30 seconds long, hits on the gender wage gap (i’d love to see an ad targeting the race wage gap, but maybe obama can’t do that) with a very general statistic and a clear message. pretty cool, as i see it.
    i do hear what you guys are saying about it turning some “dudes” off, but, at the same time, politics is about presenting a crisis in as stark terms as possible and i think their aim is to mobilize women and people who believe in fairness… something this ad demonstrates is clearly lacking.

  • AnUnfunnyFeminist

    If you look at Department of Labor Statistics on the pay gap, you’ll notice that no matter which state or which career, women get paid considerably less than men. The statistics are controlled for things like maternal leave.
    I only have two issues with this ad. I think it should have noted the larger wage gap for women of color. A simple statement like “And women of color make even less” would have been sufficient. Then they would have said how John McCain doesn’t support fair pay, and the point that McCain is both sexist and racist would have been made.
    Secondly, while this might sound a bit nitpicky, I prefer the “I approve this message” to be at the end. Advertisements are only 30 seconds for a reason; our attention spans aren’t very long. The last thing we should hear in a campaign add is the person we should vote for. People might forget who’s ad it was by the end. “Vote for Barack Obama. John McCain doesn’t support fair pay” just doesn’t have the same impact to me as “John McCain doesn’t support fair pay. Vote for Barack Obama.”

  • Trouble

    Perhaps Obama can’t win with me – all I could think with this ad was “I don’t work to ‘help’ support my family. I’m the only income earner for my family. Other working women are not ‘helping’, either.”

  • Egodefluo

    I agree with trouble, Obama wasn’t my first choice and I cringed at this ad. It’s bad enough that McCain doesn’t think women should earn as much as men. You don’t need to go back and pander to “supporting families.” It just reminds me of someone screaming “won’t someone please think of the children?”

  • feisty_nomad

    This ad makes it even more frustrating to think that the demographic growing in support of McCain is white women. Obama is working towards equality for women, and actually acknowledges the wage discrepancy between the genders. Yet Palin got to where she is because of her socioeconomic status, and seems to have no concern in helping women’s financial status or working to close the pay gap.

  • http://ojibwaymigisibineshii.blogspot.com/ Cecelia

    In Michigan we have the worst pay rate in the nation… it is .67 cents per the mans dollar. In the auto worker patriarchal industry here its disgusting. Women seem to walk around here very disempowered and burdened. When I have lived in other places like Colorado, Chicago and Seattle women seem to be more empowered and standing tall.
    John McCain does not support women, children or people in general. He does not seem like he is human to me. Same as Sarah Palin – both not human.

  • Danyell

    Trouble – Not trying to simply be contrary here: but where are you getting this from? I didn’t get anything like that from the ad. The only complaint I can make is that 30 seconds isn’t long enough to tackle most issues, let alone something as complicated as the wage gap.

  • kazmira

    I can just see Obama’s campaign managers grinning over this whole discussion – “see, we got ‘em on our side now!” It’s not that I think they DON’T care about these issues, but I honestly don’t know. Ultimately, these are politicians we’re talking about, and this is a political ad, not a policy proposal. And, though it’s certainly not as blatant or abhorrent or patently false, it operates on the same level of manipulative political alignment as the Republicans’ ‘pro-woman’ pick of Palin. And I really wonder if either stance would have emerged had all the candidates from the very beginning been male. In any case, I’m tired of being pandered to.
    Also, calling the Republican candidates “not human” is dangerous. Not just because it’s factually wrong, but because it demonizes in a way that prevents critical thought – about those candidates’ motives and strategies (all very human), and also about the candidate who will oppose them. If McCain and Palin are “not human”, is Obama “more” human, “superhuman”? As much as American politics – operating on sensational, emotional, manipulative levels like these – tries to get us to not-think our way into the voting booth, we have to resist that and remain as critical as possible, of both parties.

  • southernbellefromhell

    I’m glad the issue is being addressed, but put me down as another person who didn’t like the “help” term. Women don’t “help” support their families in a junior role. They just support their families. I can’t believe the ad writer was so tone deaf to this.

  • Judith Jewcakes

    So I also happened to prick up my ears a bit more when I heard “help support their families.” Sexism runs deep; sexist rhetoric can even find its way into pro-woman ads. I’m also disappointed that the script writer didn’t consider this.
    However.
    This ad is important. In a time when McCain and Palin must be chuckling their asses off at their clever tactic to win over women voters, people need to know where they really stand. 30-second ads are a crucial beginning, even if they’re incomplete.

  • moni

    I must admit that I do not know all of the facts regarding McCain and his voting record regarding Women’s equal pay. I do know that lot’s of rumors and opinions are rampart on this blog with clear facts.
    Here are some actual facts from both candidates regarding equal pay.
    EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN!
    Obama’s campaign website under the heading “Fighting for Pay Equity,” the women’s issues page laments that, “Despite decades of progress, women still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. A recent study estimates it will take another 47 years for women to close the wage gap with men at Fortune 500 corporate offices. Barack Obama believes the government needs to take steps to better enforce the Equal Pay Act…”
    A watchdog group called LegiStorm posts online the salaries for Capitol Hill staffers. “We have no political affiliations and no political purpose except to make the workings of Congress as transparent as possible,” its website explains.
    Findings:
    Based on these calculations, Obama’s 28 male staffers divided among themselves total payroll expenditures of $1,523,120. Thus, Obama’s average male employee earned $54,397.
    Obama’s 30 female employees split $1,354,580 among themselves, or $45,152, on average.
    Among Obama’s five best-paid advisors, only one was a woman. Among his top 20, seven were women.
    McCain’s 17 male staffers split $916,914, thus averaging $53,936.
    His 25 female employees divided $1,396,958 and averaged $55,878.
    How could this be? Could it be political pandering?
    I guess some people talk the talk, while others walk the walk.
    I assume that most of the women that post here are intelligent, therefore you should know that you cannot believe anything you hear and only a fraction of what you read. For your own sake, go out and find the facts and make your own decision.

  • ShifterCat

    For the last fucking time, Moni, the “Obama pay gap” has been disproven.
    And really, the only way you couldn’t know about McCain’s position against equal pay (in contrast to Obama’s support of it) is if you haven’t bothered to find out. Here’s a start.
    Now will you kindly quit haunting mostly-abandoned threads to “get the last word” by posting points that have already been rebutted?

  • http://www.rolandbuckles.com Roland Buckles

    I don’t know where Obama has been, or who has feed him full of bull. I do not know of any woman making less than a man doing the same job as the man.
    These politions are out of touch with the working class, and being feed a line of bull shit from there aids.
    Wake up and go talk to the workers.
    Obama has underpaid his own woman staff.
    If he can not take care of his own, how can we trust him to take of our women and children?
    Obama is just another polition (snake) with a forked tongue.

  • ShifterCat

    1. See directly above re. “Obama pay gap disproven”.
    2. Have you done any reading on the subject of the gender wage gap? No? How about the racial wage gap — do you also not believe that exists because, to your knowledge, it hasn’t affected anyone you know personally?
    You are the one who needs to wake up, Roland.

  • moni

    ShifterCat: Got your dandruff up?
    Thanks for the link regarding the Obama pay gap. Did you read the final analysis of the article that stated
    “But the bottom line is that Senator McCain’s staff seems pretty equal between men and women at every level, and it seems that in his office men and women get equal pay for equal work (just like in Senator Obama’s office).
    Regarding the Lilly Ledbetter, the SUPREME COURT rule in 2007 that Ms. Ledbetter was not entitled to sue for pay discrimination due to statute of limitations. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was introduced in 2008 in the House but did not move forward in the Senate.
    The main reason that it was voted against is that opponents believed that it was not written properly and that excessive litigation would result.
    McCain has repeated said that he is for equal pay for everyone. He opposed the Fair Pay Act on the grounds that the wording of the bill was flawed and would lead to excessive litigation and court costs. A compromise on the wording by the author have resolved the issue.
    See the following article from a legal perspective that regarding the Fair Pay Act that states ….
    “It’s not really about pay equity — after all, we already have the Equal Pay Act for that. It’s really about allowing individuals to recover much more in the way of damages than they could otherwise recover (though you’d be hard-pressed to make heads or tails of it from the seemingly technical language used). And frankly, there’s nothing wrong with advancing that goal if there was a fair debate on the merits.” Read the full article at http://overlawyered.com/2008/08/paycheck-fairness-act-takes-center-stage/
    McCain’s track record on fair pay includes the following..
    Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1989, which prohibits discrimination against older workers, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.
    So in summary, this is another case of politics as usual.
    BTW..If you ever want to defend Obama’s position on the “Born Alive Infants Protection Act”, please let me know.
    http://www.nysun.com/national/obama-facing-attacks-from-all-sides-over-abortion/84059/

  • ShifterCat

    Moni, have you done any research at all on why there is a pay gap?
    The Supreme Court said that Ms. Ledbetter filed her complaints too late. But how could she have filed them on time when, due to corporate confidentiality practices, she had no way of knowing that she was being paid 40% less than males doing the same job? For a more fair ruling, the current laws need to be changed.
    And as for the whole “excessive litigation” business, that sounds an awful lot like they’re just afraid that people might file lawsuits. You know, because they’re being discriminated against.
    Meanwhile, not only did McCain block the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (without even bothering to show up, I might add), but he also opposed this amendment, whose purpose was “to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.”
    “Thanks for the link regarding the Obama pay gap. Did you read the final analysis of the article that stated
    “But the bottom line is that Senator McCain’s staff seems pretty equal between men and women at every level, and it seems that in his office men and women get equal pay for equal work (just like in Senator Obama’s office).”

    Yes, I did. And I have no idea why you’re being so smug in admitting that you were wrong. As I said before: McCain may be willing to be fair to those women who are already in his camp, but he’s not concerned with women as a whole.

  • closet librarian

    It is interesting that no mention was made of the fact that more women graduate from university in the United States than men. Four in ten female students that enter university graduate, whereas only three in ten male students graduate. Women are educated. They have phi beta kappa and summa cum laude and honors. For the McCain camp to suggest that women are not trying hard enough to get themselves educated is a further insult in my book.