Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gender and the Obama stimulus plan

Read Linda Hirshman's important op-ed in today's NYT. Her essential argument is that the economic stimulus plan is too narrow, in part because men will be the primary beneficiaries. She makes a good case, saying that Obama's plan is reminiscent of the Eisenhower era not only because of its focus on infrastructure, but as a reflection of gender roles. Hirshman suggests that too few women will be on Obama's "road to recovery." Here is an excerpt:

Back before the feminist revolution brought women into the workplace in unprecedented numbers, this would have been more understandable. But today, women constitute about 46 percent of the labor force. And as the current downturn has worsened, their traditionally lower unemployment rate has actually risen just as fast as men’s. A just economic stimulus plan must include jobs in fields like social work and teaching, where large numbers of women work.

As Hirshman points out, women are definitely not a marginal, special interest group, and the Obama administration should make a greater effort to provide jobs for them, too.

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