Victories are beginning to add up for American women. President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He’s signed a law expanding health care benefits for women and children under SCHIP.

And now, there’s a chance that Kim Gandy, longtime women’s activist, feminist leader and President of the National Organization for Women is a contender for the slot as the head of the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor. To say that Gandy would be the perfect person for the slot is an understatement (and I’m not just saying that because I hear she’s read my blog every now and then!) 😉

The mission statement of the Women’s Bureau is:

To improve the status of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment.

Gandy has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of women. It started for Kim when, according to her Wikipedia entry, she had to get her husband’s permission for employee benefits when she worked for AT&T after getting out of college. Yeah. His permission. That would have inspired me to do something, too.

Seriously, Gandy has worked tirelessly for women ever since, but apparently the people behind The New Agenda blog believe that NOW’s support of Barack Obama for president disqualifies her for a potential position in the Obama administration. Really? ‘Cause this is part of her resume:

Since 2001, Gandy has led NOW’s campaigns on issues ranging from Supreme Court nominations to the rights of mothers and caregivers, from Social Security reform to ending the war in Iraq. Through grassroots political action, Gandy helped increase the women’s vote and change the face of Congress in 2006 and is leading the organization’s efforts around the pivotal 2008 elections.

That’s exactly the kind of person I want in charge of women’s issues at the Labor Department, especially now as the administration contemplates how more women will be able to employed in the jobs creation aspect of the stimulus package. Gandy has been a champion for women’s rights her whole life, and that’s who I want working hard to make sure women get an equal slice of the job creation pie.

I’m sure Gandy isn’t the only person who could be good in that job. But I have to wonder what’s behind such a public dissing of Gandy by a group that claims to be all for advancing women’s rights? If you’re looking for a qualified, dedicated woman to lead efforts to promote and benefit women over the next four years, no one is more qualified. And, if you look carefully at the stated goals of The New Agenda, it seems that Gandy would be perfect for those, too.

I’m not sure what this preemptive strike is all about, but I’ve come to learn the hard way that if something smells a little fishy, odds are it’s worth taking a look around to see where the odor is coming from.

Kim, for what it’s worth, after everything you’ve done for women (and girls) in your lifetime, you’ve got as much support as I can give you. You deserve it.

UPDATE: More women in the blogosphere are speaking up about their support for Kim Gandy AND the reasons behind this campaign. Don’t let the smoke and mirrors of the anti-Gandy campaign fool you.