Michelle Obama's First 100 Days
I'm not going to go into another wall-to-wall discussion about everything President Obama has done since coming to the White House like other bloggers, but I did want to give some shine to Lady O. Despite my indifferent views on her dress sense (that vomit green number she wore on Inauguration Day...) and getting criticized for "molesting" Queen Elizabeth II last month, Mrs. Obama has come through the fire, and is now even more popular than her husband.
My only disappointment is with the media, which seems to focus so much on what she is wearing, are missing the real story about a woman who came from a modest background and went on to become a successful power-broker in her career path.
Following law school, she was an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin, where she first met her future husband. At the firm, she worked on marketing and intellectual property. Subsequently, she held public sector positions in the Chicago city government as an Assistant to the Mayor, and as Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a non-profit organization encouraging young people to work on social issues in nonprofit groups and government agencies. She worked there nearly four years and set fundraising records for the organization that still stood a dozen years after she left.
In 1996, she served as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago, where she developed the University's Community Service Center. In 2002, she began working for the University of Chicago Hospitals, first as executive director for community affairs and, beginning May 2005, as Vice President for Community and External Affairs. She continued to hold the University of Chicago Hospitals position during the primary campaign, but cut back to part time in order to spend time with her daughters as well as work for her husband's election; she subsequently took a leave of absence from her job. According to the couple’s 2006 income tax return, Michelle's salary was $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, while her husband had a salary of $157,082 from the United States Senate. The total Obama income, however, was $991,296 which included $51,200 she earned as a member of the board of directors of TreeHouse Foods, and investments and royalties from his books.
She served as a salaried board member of TreeHouse Foods, Inc., a major Wal-Mart supplier with whom she cut ties immediately after her husband made comments critical of Wal-Mart at an AFL-CIO forum in Trenton, New Jersey, on May 14, 2007. She serves on the board of directors of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Damn, she was even getting paid more than her husband! How many men would be "secure" with that?
I am even glad to see that she is taking on food justice initiatives!
But best of all, it is great that she is also changing stereotypes.
Heather Ferreira works in the slums of Mumbai, India, where she has watched thousands of women live under a "curse."
The women she meets in the squalid streets where "Slumdog Millionaire" was filmed are often treated with contempt, she says. They're considered ugly if their skin and hair are too dark. They are deemed "cursed" if they only have daughters. Many would-be mothers even abort their children if they learn they're female.
Yet lately she says Indian women are getting another message from the emergence of another woman thousands of miles away. This woman has dark skin and hair. She walks next to her husband in public, not behind. And she has two daughters. But no one calls her cursed. They call her Michelle Obama, the first lady.
"She could be a new face for India," says Ferreira, program officer for an HIV-prevention program run by World Vision, an international humanitarian group. "She shows women that it's OK to have dark skin and to not have a son. She's quite real to us."
Labels: No we can't