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Lindsay HolstAugust 27, 2014
09:35 AM EDT
Last night, White House economist Betsey Stevenson sent the email below to the White House email list, telling the story of the progress women have made since gaining the right to vote -- and what's still left to accomplish.
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Hi, everyone --
In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to John Adams, then serving on the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and reminded him to "not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands."
Seventy-two years later, in 1848, women across the country gathered together for the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
And it wasn't until 72 years after that, in 1920, that women in the United States officially gained the right to vote.
Let's be honest: Change hasn't ever exactly come quickly for women in this country. And 94 years later -- while it's undeniable that women have made leaps and bounds in every facet of American life, from the classroom to the boardroom -- it's not enough.
Today, on the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we celebrate Women's Equality Day. And today, the day-to-day operations of too many businesses and institutions still don't reflect true gender equality. We've got the data to prove it.
Throughout the day, I've posted charts that tell the story of the progress we've made -- and the challenges women still face in the workforce.
August 26, 2014
06:44 PM EDT
President Obama traveled to Charlotte, NC today to address the American Legion, the nation’s largest veteran service organization, and pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our veterans from every corner of the country and every generation:
In the story of your service we see the spirit of America. When your country needed you most, you stepped forward. You raised your right hand, you swore a solemn oath. You put on that uniform and earned the title you carry to this day -- whether Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman.
Among you are proud veterans of World War II; of Korea; of Vietnam; of Desert Storm and the Balkans; and our newest veterans -- from Iraq and Afghanistan. Across the generations, you served with honor. You made us proud. And you carry the memory of friends who never came home -- our fallen, our prisoners of war, those missing in action -- heroes that our nation can never forget.
Lindsay HolstAugust 26, 2014
02:49 PM EDT
Today, White House Economist Betsey Stevenson is taking over the popular "I Love Charts" Tumblr blog in honor of Women's Equality Day. Follow along here, or on the White House Tumblr.
Hey everyone! Betsey Stevenson here from President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. In honor of Women’s Equality Day, I’ll be taking over I Love Charts to tell the story of the progress we’ve made in closing the earnings gap between women and men, and the challenges women still face in the workforce.
Let’s get started. Our first chart shows how women are increasingly contributing to family income and now make up about half the workforce. Since 2000, women’s labor force participation has dropped slightly, but most of that is because of cyclical factors and an aging population. While older women participate in the workforce at lower rates than younger women, the percent of older women who are working has increased since the mid-1990s, partially offsetting the overall decline.
At the other end of the spectrum, young women are more likely to be enrolled in school than they were a generation ago, and that’s good news. Since students (even ones who work part-time) are not considered to be in the labor force, increased school enrollment will depress the participation rate.
Wanna wonk out some more on this stuff? Check out our report on “Women’s Participation in Education and the Workforce.”
Jeffrey ZientsAugust 26, 2014
02:35 PM EDT
Every day, the men and women of our military perform incredible service on behalf of our country. And as the President has made clear, just as our service members have made a commitment to America, we have a commitment to them – to have their backs at home while they serve around the world.
A new partnership announced today by President Obama with leading banks and financial services institutions is part of meeting that commitment by making it easier for service members to access important financial protections that will save them money and help protect their financial wellbeing.
In a speech at the American Legion's 96th National Convention today, the President outlined how his Administration and five of the country’s largest mortgage servicers are working together to help more members of our active-duty military lower their monthly mortgage payments. Our preliminary analysis suggests that this new partnership will help tens of thousands of military families save money by reducing their mortgage interest rates. On a $200,000 mortgage, even an interest rate reduction of only 1 percent will result in over $1,500 a year in savings for our military families – money they can put toward daily expenses, retirement savings, or sending their children to college.
David HudsonAugust 26, 2014
01:11 PM EDT
At 108 years old, Lucy Coffey, a veteran of the Women's Army Corps in World War II, is the nation's oldest living female veteran.
Last month, a dream of hers came true when she finally had the opportunity to visit the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. But while she was in the area, she also stopped by the White House — where she was greeted by none other than President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Valerie JarrettAugust 26, 2014
10:44 AM EDT
Etched into the history of our Nation are the stories of women who fought for the America they knew was possible — a country where all are truly treated equally and have access to the ballot box, regardless of gender. It took generations of fearless women who organized and advocated to secure women’s right to vote, and on Women’s Equality Day, we honor these courageous heroes, celebrate how far we have come in the decades since, and acknowledge the work still left to be done.
In the 94 years since the 19th Amendment was certified, women have made strides in every facet of American life, and we have learned that our country succeeds when women succeed. More and more the world is looking to our daughters to lead us, to heal us, to employ us, to thrill us on fields of play, and to protect us on fields of battle. Even still, inequality and discrimination persist. Women, on average, continue to earn less than their male counterparts, and for women of color, the disparity is even wider. Outdated workplace policies force too many working parents to choose between fulfilling their family responsibilities, and the careers of their dreams. And far too many women know what it is to suffer from abuse or sexual assault.
August 25, 2014
12:29 PM EDT
From our spacious skies and fruited plains to our purple mountain majesties, the United States boasts some of the world's most breathtaking natural lands. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service to formally protect and preserve these lands so people all over the world could experience America's historic beauty and heritage for years to come.
Today, the National Park Service manages 401 national parks and memorials, which supported 238,000 jobs and pumped more than $26 billion into local economies last year. In fact, for every $1 we invest in our national parks, our economy sees $10 in return.
Take a glimpse at what the National Park Service has been working to preserve for 98 years, and follow the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Interior on Twitter to see more of what makes America so beautiful.
Lindsay HolstAugust 23, 2014
06:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Blue Room of the White House, Aug. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made towards rebuilding our economy, including the creation of nearly 10 million new private sector jobs in the past 53 months and the rise in the number of American exports to an all-time high. That growth is in part thanks to the actions of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, an organization that creates American jobs by helping to take American businesses global. The charter of the Export-Import Bank is slated to expire next month, unless Members of Congress renew it, as has happened 16 times in the past with support from Democrats and Republicans. The President asked business owners and employees to reach out to their representatives, who are home this month, and let them know how important it is that the Export-Import Bank continue its work so that American businesses can continue to grow.
David HudsonAugust 21, 2014
06:01 PM EDT
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to Ferguson, Missouri yesterday to review the Justice Department's independent investigation into the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. While there, the Attorney General met with community leaders, FBI investigators, and federal prosecutors to get detailed briefings on the status of the case.
"I've been kept up to date," he said, "but there's nothing that can replace actually coming to the office that's handling the matter, and being able to look in the face the people who are, I think at this point, very ably handling this investigation."
Following the shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, the city of Ferguson has captured countless headlines. Across the country -- and around the world -- people are watching as the Ferguson community continues to grapple with this tragedy.
"The eyes of the nation and the world are watching Ferguson right now," the Attorney General said yesterday at the Florissant Valley Campus of St. Louis Community College. "The world is watching because the issues raised by the shooting of Michael Brown predate this incident. This is something that has a history to it, and the history simmers beneath the surface in more communities than just Ferguson."
Adam GarberAugust 21, 2014
05:16 PM EDT
Welcome to a special edition of West Wing Week, featuring a Summer Social Media Mailbag Q&A session with White House staffers. But before we get to your questions, here are a couple scenes from the President's week.
August 21, 2014
11:42 AM EDT
The American auto industry remains a cornerstone of our economy -- a key source of our ability to export, innovate, and create jobs. During the economic turmoil of the Great Recession, the auto sector shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, and production dropped to the lowest level recorded in data going back to the 1960s. In 2009, President Obama took decisive action to rescue the industry from imminent collapse, saving more than 1 million jobs across the country.
Now, our auto industry is once again a source of economic strength, with more and more of the world’s top-of-the-line, fuel-efficient vehicles being made by American workers in American factories. In fact, the number of cars coming off our assembly lines just reached its highest level in 12 years.
Check out how fast the American auto industry has bounced back under President Obama -- then share this chart with everyone who needs to see this progress:
August 20, 2014
03:40 PM EDT
Yesterday afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the University of Central Florida’s cyber defense team to the White House to congratulate them on their victory in the 2014 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Beating out more than 2,000 students from over 180 schools, the Central Florida team members demonstrated their ability to protect complex networks from skilled cyber criminals.
Joined by the Director of the Secret Service, the President’s Cyber Coordinator, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Director for National Security and International Affairs, the Vice President underscored the vital national security and economic need to prepare Americans for jobs in cybersecurity.
David HudsonAugust 20, 2014
02:16 PM EDT
This afternoon, the President made a statement on the killing of journalist James Foley by the terrorist group ISIL. He was 40 years old.
"The entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley," President Obama said. "Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother, and a friend. He reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away."
Foley was taken hostage in Syria almost two years ago while reporting on the conflict there. The President made clear in today's statement that Foley's life "stands in stark contrast to his killers":
August 20, 2014
11:47 AM EDT
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is traveling to Ferguson, Missouri today to review the Department of Justice's ongoing independent investigation into the tragic death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
In an op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Attorney General Holder pledged to help find justice for a community that is rightfully hurting and looking for answers:
Today, I will be in Ferguson to be briefed on the federal civil rights investigation that I have closely monitored since I launched it more than one week ago. I will meet personally with community leaders, FBI investigators and federal prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to receive detailed briefings on the status of this case.
The full resources of the Department of Justice have been committed to the investigation into Michael Brown’s death. This inquiry will take time to complete, but we have already taken significant steps. Approximately 40 FBI agents and some of the Civil Rights Division’s most experienced prosecutors have been deployed to lead this process, with the assistance of the United States Attorney in St. Louis. Hundreds of people have already been interviewed in connection with this matter. On Monday, at my direction, a team of federal medical examiners conducted an independent autopsy.
We understand the need for an independent investigation, and we hope that the independence and thoroughness of our investigation will bring some measure of calm to the tensions in Ferguson. In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson. Although these acts have been committed by a very small minority -- and, in many cases, by individuals from outside Ferguson -- they seriously undermine, rather than advance, the cause of justice. And they interrupt the deeper conversation that the legitimate demonstrators are trying to advance.
Lindsay HolstAugust 20, 2014
10:49 AM EDT
Ever wondered what a first day as a new employee at the White House looks like?
What about a first day as the very first employee of a brand-new government service designed to remake the way people and businesses interact with their government online?
From parking forms to press conferences, from orientation to setting a new BlackBerry password to meeting with senior advisors, follow along as Mikey Dickerson, Administrator of the newly created U.S. Digital Service, makes his way through Day One.
August 19, 2014
04:37 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Labor's blog. See the original post here.
Leading up to Labor Day 2014, Secretary Tom Perez is traveling across the country to talk with Americans about how we can help more people succeed in the workplace and at home. Follow him along the way with live updates at www.dol.gov/LaborDay.
71-year-old Austraberta Rodriguez has been a janitor for more than 30 years. For most of those years, she could only dream about vacation days and paid time off. She was making $5.15 per hour and she had small children and grandchildren. All of her money was going to the bare essentials. Looking back, she doesn’t know how she survived. In 2006, all of that changed.
August 18, 2014
07:56 PM EDT
This afternoon at the White House, President Obama delivered a statement on the latest developments in Iraq and in Ferguson, Missouri — two issues he has been following closely each day.
First, the President relayed to the nation that the American operation in Iraq has effectively protected our personnel by stopping the terrorist group ISIL from advancing on the city of Erbil, and by helping Iraqi forces to recapture the largest dam in Iraq:
The Mosul Dam fell under terrorist control earlier this month and is directly tied to our objective of protecting Americans in Iraq. If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic, with floods that would have threatened the lives of thousands of civilians and endangered our embassy compound in Baghdad. Iraqi and Kurdish forces took the lead on the ground and performed with courage and determination. So this operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together in taking the fight to ISIL. If they continue to do so, they will have the strong support of the United States of America.
David HudsonAugust 18, 2014
04:25 PM EDT
Earlier this afternoon, Vice President Biden ceremonially swore in former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Secretary Castro -- who was confirmed by the Senate last month in a 71-26 vote -- made significant progress in San Antonio and implemented a number of housing and economic development programs to help the city's residents. In a statement last month, President Obama called Secretary Castro "a proven leader -- a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods."
The President also voiced his confidence that Secretary Castro will work in his new role to "build on the progress we've made battling back from the Great Recession" -- rebuilding America's housing market, reducing veteran homelessness, and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and jobs that help Americans succeed.
August 18, 2014
11:14 AM EDT
The President of the United States must be ready to travel anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. Fortunately, modern Presidents have access to a variety of transportation options, including flying aboard Air Force One. Strictly speaking, the term “Air Force One” is used to describe any Air Force aircraft when the President is on board, but since the middle of the 20th century, it has been standard practice to use the title to refer to specific planes that are equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief.
Lindsay HolstAugust 16, 2014
06:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the State Dining Room of the White House, Aug. 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
In this week’s address, with schools getting ready to open their doors again over the next few weeks, the President talked directly to students and parents about the importance of preparing for an education beyond high school.
In today’s economy, some higher education continues to be the surest ticket to the middle class, but for too many families across the country, paying for higher education is a constant struggle. The President and First Lady know this first hand -- they only finished paying off their student loans 10 years ago -- and that’s why they have made it a priority to help make college more affordable for families. They have taken action to reform student loans, expand grants and college tax credits, help make loan payments more manageable, and have proposed plans to make sure colleges also do their part to bring down costs. And just this week, as part of the President’s Year of Action, the administration announced a new series of commitments to support students who need a little extra academic help getting through college.