Obama to put women's issues 'front and center' in address
January 28th, 2014
07:10 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama to put women's issues 'front and center' in address

(CNN) - Working women and their struggles will form a major part of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night, CNN has learned, underscoring the important role women play both in Obama's domestic agenda and his party's hopes for this year's midterm elections.

During his speech, Obama will call for an end to the wage gap between men and women. On average, women earn 77 cents to every dollar a man makes in the workplace

He will also highlight the struggles working moms face providing for their families.

The theme runs throughout the speech and extends to the White House's guests, who sit with the first lady in the House chamber.

Those invited almost always get a mention, often to illustrate a point he wants to make to Congress.

The guests this year reflect both the strides made by women and the struggles they face.

Mary Barra, who last month became the first female chief executive of a major American automaker – General Motors, will join Michelle Obama in the first lady's box, as will Sabrina Simone Jenkins, a single mom who worked her way through college after serving in the Air Force.

"I think we need to focus more on women who are trying," Jenkins told CNN as she arrived in Washington on Monday. "They're living almost from paycheck to paycheck and they're trying to do the best that they can, you know they're trying to go back to school, trying to raise children."

Jenkins said she would like to hear Obama say "that he knows that women are struggling."

It's not a new message for Obama, who in 2012 highlighted issues like equal pay and education on the campaign trail, and captured strong support among women in winning reelection.

That deficit didn't go unnoticed by Republican leaders, who conceded their party needed to do a better job appealing to women.

Tuesday's Republican response to the State of the Union will be delivered by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the number four House Republican who in November became the only member of Congress to give birth three times while in office.

Democrats up for re-election this November are desperate to maintain their advantage among women, which they'll need if they want to keep control of the Senate.

Obama's strength among women will take on particular importance for Democrats after support for the party faltered following the faulty rollout of Obamacare.

Earlier this month, Senate Democrats asked the President directly to highlight women's issues this year as a way to bolster their key voting bloc.

According to Valerie Jarrett, Obama's senior adviser, the message Tuesday to women will just be one part of his overall message on combating inequity.

"He often says, look, we're half the workforce. Women are now graduating college at the same rate, if not higher, than men. Graduate school, a higher rate. Yet there are still women only earning 77 cents on the dollar. And that basic inequality is troubling to him," she told CNN in an interview. "People shouldn't be left behind because of their ZIP code and certainly their gender."


Filed under: President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Cindy

    Finally he will answer why he pays the women on his staff 20% less than the men
    Nice

    January 28, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Thomas

    I hope the President acknowledges the inspiring work Sarah Palin has given to the world ?

    Also Anita Bryant and Ann Coulter for there big smiles and deep acceptance to all gods creatures .

    January 28, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Kelly

    Wouldn't it be nice if the president addresses the things that Americans believe are the MOST important today instead of trying to distract and divide us.

    January 28, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. The don

    The divider in chief at in again!

    January 28, 2014 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. larry S.

    He also needs to address the corruption with the citys in California. No police or city protection the citys are not run property by the city officials. We need this also address.

    January 28, 2014 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Tampa Tim

    The republicans refuse to address the things that are most important to Americans, and instead, focus on abortion and repealing health care.

    January 28, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. Gt

    Obama has done more damage than any ,president ever
    Women's issue give me a breake ...keep them poor ..give them birth control ,and free phones food stamps not jobs .

    January 28, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. Thomas

    I hope the president also addresses the country's serious mental health problems . And also thanks Michele Bachmann for her years of service in bringing the severity of the problem of mental health to the House .

    January 28, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. Thomas

    larry S.
    He also needs to address the corruption with the citys in California. No police or city protection the citys are not run property by the city officials. We need this also address.
    =========

    Can you elaborate on you comment , where in California ?

    January 28, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. Chris-E...al

    Why do the dems.. always pick fully imformed fullblooded american women. An put them in the sam catorgor as illegals.an gays.an employment. WHY Cause they think women can be manipulated. im tired of them playing that.an u should be to.! lets show em at the poll..

    January 28, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. Hector Slagg

    Most Likely,
    He is still walking all around the problem with jobs. Obama Care has killed any increase in jobs. And it severely hurts older single women.

    January 28, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Bush care lost 8 million jobs in 2008. And it almost ruined the country.

    January 28, 2014 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  13. rs

    Hector Slagg
    Most Likely,
    He is still walking all around the problem with jobs. Obama Care has killed any increase in jobs. And it severely hurts older single women.
    __________
    Just another faceless statement HS.

    January 28, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  14. rs

    As long as the GOP is prepared to throw away 50% of the vote, why not?

    January 28, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  15. Smitty

    The BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR WINNER will no doubt have terrible ratings, everyone is fed up with his arrogance and lies. He even lied to kids about his favorite food (broccoli). Once a liar always a liar, and things have gotten worse on his watch, PERIOD !!

    January 28, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  16. Ancient Texan

    The economy and the unemployment rate will not improve until Obama is gone from the scene. His only goal is political one-upmanship, the rest is a mere "bump in the road".

    January 28, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  17. Harold Read

    Hollow words and empty promises from the owner of the 2013 Lie of the Year Award.

    Going for back-to-back Lie of the Year Awards?

    January 28, 2014 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  18. rs

    Smitty
    The BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR WINNER will no doubt have terrible ratings, everyone is fed up with his arrogance and lies. He even lied to kids about his favorite food (broccoli). Once a liar always a liar, and things have gotten worse on his watch, PERIOD !!
    ____________
    Still grinding away on that Romney "Obama sold Jeep to China" lie, eh, Smitty?

    January 28, 2014 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. rs

    Ancient Texan
    The economy and the unemployment rate will not improve until Obama is gone from the scene. His only goal is political one-upmanship, the rest is a mere "bump in the road".
    __________
    I'll remind you AT, that unemployment is at its lowest in 5 years (when Bush crashed the ambulance) -with no help from the GOP. Face it, we're better off without you anchors.

    January 28, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  20. rs

    Hector Slagg
    Most Likely,
    He is still walking all around the problem with jobs. Obama Care has killed any increase in jobs. And it severely hurts older single women.
    _________________
    Remind me again HS, how many jobs bills did the Repos pass ? Oh, yeah, 268 anti-abortion, anti-birth control bills, but NO jobs bills.

    January 28, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  21. rs

    Harold Read
    Hollow words and empty promises from the owner of the 2013 Lie of the Year Award.

    Going for back-to-back Lie of the Year Awards?
    _______________
    I doubt the President will attend the Republican National Convention.

    January 28, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  22. Smitty

    Great more lip service from the BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR WINNER. Obammy care (or Bammy himself) don't work and the world knows it, Assad went over your red line and the world knows it, Obammy is a crook and the world knows it. What a joke he has turned this once great nation into.

    January 28, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. Tampa Tim

    Smitty – So far, 14 million who were uninsured, have been able to get health care, despite the efforts and lies of the right wingnuts.

    January 28, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. Smitty

    Where was NSA on his lies??? Equality what a joke is that why he keeps feeding the unions??? I will say he can talk !!

    January 28, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  25. Trinka

    When will people finally realize that a President is only as good as a Congress will let him be? And if one hasn't noticed Congress' intransigence the last few years, one has been in a coma.

    January 28, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
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