As you know one problem with the unemployment rate is that it doesn’t include discouraged workers. Another measure of joblessness is the employment-to-population ratio, i.e. the share of the population that works. Let's graph the employment rate for people aged 20-64 during the recession and recovery. Source is the Bureau of labor statistics CPS.
The numbers in the graph are for first quarter of 2008, first quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2012. The graphs suggest we are further from a recovery than the unemployment rate indicates.
Prior to the recession, there was a trend with women doing better than men, which Casey Mulligan has written about. During the recession men took a far bigger hit than women, with their employment rate falling twice as much as women.
Since President Obama took office in the beginning of 2009, women have actually been doing worse than men. The Republicans blame this on Obama, a response of sorts I suppose to the lefts ginned up “War on Women” accusation.
It seems to me the most plausible explanation for why male employment is recovering faster is that men initially took a bigger hit. On this one Obama is right and Republicans wrong.