Obama's New Council on Women and Girls Is Another Hollow Gesture

He's less interested in helping women and minorities than in making people like him.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

He's talking the talk but it remains to be seen whether he will walk the walk. President Obama, whose inner circle of advisers is reported to be predominately white and 25 percent female, announced the creation of a White House Council on Women & Girls today by executive fiat. Why are some women leaders left with the feeling that this Council will be more talk than walk?

Take this, for example, from Politico:

The new council does not have Cabinet rank, however. In fact, it is not even a permanent office with staff devoted full-time to women's issues. However, one signatory to the December letter said yesterday she was satisfied with Obama's action, at least so far.

Hmmmm. I know the bean-counters out there will accuse President Obama of not appointing enough women to Cabinet-level posts and accuse me of tallying too many numbers as well.

But let's talk about gut reactions for a moment. My gut reaction to watching President Obama make his announcement today is he's more talk than walk when it comes to most advancements for women or for other so-called minority groups. Why? His main pursuit seems to be political expediency, making everyone love him and not taking controversial stands (because he might alienate someone.)

Yes, he's a vast improvement over President Bush who abolished the White House Women's Office and stopped releasing figures about the numbers of women and persons of color he appointed to cabinet and sub-cabinet posts. But why does that feel like it's just not enough? Stay tuned, I'll try to figure it out and tell you. In the meantime, I'd love your thoughts.

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