White House Council on Women and Girls

The White House Introduces the White House Council on Women and Girls!
 American Women Deserve to be Recognized and Acknowledged!
Thank you, President Obama, for establishing this very important council.

Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   March 11, 2009

President Obama Announces White House Council on Women and Girls

President Obama today signed an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. The mission of the Council will be to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families. The Council will be chaired by Valerie Jarrett, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor, and will include as members cabinet-level federal agencies. The Executive Director of the Council will be Tina Tchen, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison at the White House.

"The purpose of this Council is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy," said President Obama. "My Administration has already made important progress toward that goal. I am proud that the first bill I signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. But I want to be clear that issues like equal pay, family leave, child care and others are not just women’s issues, they are family issues and economic issues. Our progress in these areas is an important measure of whether we are truly fulfilling the promise of our democracy for all our people. I am confident that Valerie Jarrett and Tina Tchen will guide the Council wisely as its members address these important issues."

The White House Council on Women and Girls will ensure that agencies across the federal government, not just a few offices, take into account the particular needs and concerns of women and girls. The Council will begin its work by asking each agency to analyze their current status and ensure that they are focused internally and externally on women.

In particular, the Council will work to enhance, support and coordinate the efforts of existing programs for women and girls. The Council will also work as a resource for each agency and the White House so that there is a comprehensive approach to the federal government’s policy on women and girls. The priorities will be carried out by working closely with the President’s Cabinet Secretaries and relevant agency offices that focus on women and families.

During its first year, the Council will also focus on the following areas:

  • Improving women’s economic security by ensuring that each of the agencies is working to directly improve the economic status of women.
  • Working with each agency to ensure that the administration evaluates and develops policies that establish a balance between work and family.
  • Working hand-in-hand with the Vice President, the Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women and other government officials to find new ways to prevent violence against women, at home and abroad.
  • Finally, the critical work of the Council will be to help build healthy families and improve women’s health care.

The White House Council on Women and Girls will meet regularly, and will serve as a forum for all involved agencies to focus on women.

Initial members of the Council include:

The Secretary of State;
The Secretary of the Treasury;
The Secretary of Defense;
The Attorney General;
The Secretary of Interior;
The Secretary of Agriculture;
The Secretary of Commerce;
The Secretary of Labor;
The Secretary of Health and Human Services;
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
The Secretary of Transportation;
The Secretary of Energy;
The Secretary of Education;
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
The Secretary of Homeland Security;
The United States Ambassador to the United Nations;
The United States Trade Representative;
The Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
The Director of the Office of Personnel Management;
The Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors;
The Director of the National Economic Council; and
The Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

In addition to the initial list of members, the President may designate additional heads of other Executive Branch departments, agencies, and offices.

"So now it’s up to us to carry that work forward, to ensure that our daughters and granddaughters have no limits on their dreams, no obstacles to their achievements — and that they have opportunities their mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers never dreamed of.  That’s the purpose of this Council.  Those are the priorities of my presidency.   And I look forward to working with all of you to fulfill them in the months and years to come." President Obama, 3/11/09

The White House Council on Women and Girl’s Website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg/

We are accomplishing goals!… Read below.


NOW Cheers White House Council on Women and Girls: "We Got the Entire Cabinet!"
Statement of NOW President Kim Gandy

March 11, 2009

NOW cheers the formation of the White House Council on Women and Girls, which was created by executive order of President Barack Obama today. It was a pleasure for me to be at the White House to hear the president make this commitment to supporting women and girls in such strong and unequivocal terms. It was a heartening moment for those of us who have worked so hard for this day.

There can be no question that the needs of women and girls require the attention of the White House itself. As President Obama pointed out in today’s speech, women still earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. One out of every four women will experience some form of domestic violence during her lifetime. Women make up more than half the population, yet are only 17 percent of the U.S. Congress. And while women are 49 percent of the nation’s workforce, only three percent of the Fortune 500 companies are headed by women.

The make-up of the White House Council is extraordinary. It will be headed by Valerie Jarrett, assistant to the president and one of his closest friends and advisors, and will include every Cabinet secretary and the head of every Cabinet-level agency. The Executive Director of the Council will be Tina Tchen, deputy assistant to the president and a long-time advocate of women’s rights.

We asked for a Cabinet-level office to work on women’s issues, and we got the entire Cabinet. NOW looks forward to supporting the work of the White House Council on Women and Girls in the months ahead. There is much work to be done.


For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906       

Copyright 1995-2008, All rights reserved. Permission granted for non-commercial use. National Organization for Women
(This was printed from http://www.now.org/press/03-09/03-11.html)

Excerpts from www.now.org, 12/22/08:

Urge Obama to Establish Women’s Office at Cabinet-Level

Imagine an Office on Women in the Obama-Biden administration — not just any old office, but one at the Cabinet level, putting women "at the table" in a very tangible way. We can make it happen! 

Recently NOW helped organize a coalition of nearly 50 national groups which sent a letter to President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden urging gender balance in executive appointments and advocating the creation of this new Office on Women. This office would address not only the status of women, but also the many inequities that women face in our society, our nation, and our world. The director would hold cabinet rank and report directly to the president. Establishing this office would be another historic first for Obama and a giant leap toward equality.

Because women, especially women of color, are differently affected by so many laws and policies – from health care to the economy – it is critical that women be taken into account as the new administration makes key decisions. Women need an advocate at the policy-making table whose specific responsibility is considering and weighing in on the possible impact of these decisions on women’s opportunities for advancement. A Cabinet-level office is the most effective way to accomplish this goal.

The Office on Women would seek new ways to foster the full potential of tens of millions of women and girls of all races and from all walks of life — through policies, budgeting, inter-agency coordination and special initiatives. Let’s face it, many of our federal programs were designed at a time when women’s roles in our society were very different, and these programs need to be reviewed and reassessed.

The office would have leadership of a revived and strengthened White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach and a restored Inter-Agency Council on Women, both of which existed under the Clinton administration but could stand a few upgrades this time around. 

In addition, the Office on Women would interrelate with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Status of Women Commissions of many states, counties and municipalities across the country.


Changing Minds for Women Equality(TM) - Getting the Word Out on Women Equality Issues(TM) *An Information Internet Portal & Social Media Community*

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