Friday, April 10, 2009

Obama Women

In her article The Ties That Align: Administration's Black Women Form a Strong Sisterhood, Krissah Thompson writes about the different African American women that are a part of Obama’s administration. “Obama Women,” as they have been called, mark a step forward for black women in high profile governmental positions. Thompson points out that "Seven of about three dozen senior positions on President Obama's team are filled by African American women."

She goes on to note that "they have quietly entered their jobs with little attention paid to the fact that they are the largest contingent of high-ranking black women to work for a president.”

Despite these gains, Thompson observes, "women and minorities still lack representation in proportion to their numbers on the federal level. In Congress, only 90 members are women, 42 are African American, 28 are Latino and nine are Asian." Accordingly, "the collective arrival of the women serving in senior positions in Obama's presidency has been noted only in small ways and mostly within the 'sisterhood.'" So while recognized in small ways on some levels, their collective arrival will perhaps continue to carry larger cultural significance, especially among sisterhoods of black women.

The "Obama Women" referred to in Thompson's article include: Mona Sutphen, the president's deputy chief of staff and a foreign affairs expert; Melody Barnes, who heads Obama's Domestic Policy Council; Susan Rice, U.N. Ambassador; Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison; Desirée Rogers, The White House social secretary; Cassandra Butts, a deputy White House counsel with a focus on domestic policy and ethics.

massinga and rambsy

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