The White House Blog: The President

  • Ensuring Economic Equality and Opportunity for Women and America’s Working Families

    President Barack Obama holds a women's roundtable discussion prior to remarks on the economy at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island, Oct. 31, 2014. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez attends at right.

    President Barack Obama holds a women's roundtable discussion prior to remarks on the economy at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island, Oct. 31, 2014. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez attends at right. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Last week, in Providence, President Obama delivered remarks on the importance of empowering women and girls in our economy. “When women succeed, America succeeds, and we need leaders who understand that,” he told the audience at Rhode Island College (RIC).

    But before delivering those remarks, I had the pleasure of joining the President and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, for a roundtable with the President of Rhode Island College, local woman business owners, working moms, and an RIC student to discuss what we need to do to ensure that 21st century workplaces meet the needs of our 21st century workforce -- which is increasingly being led by women.

  • Weekly Address: It's Time to Help Women and Working Families

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, Oct. 30, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, Oct. 30, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress our economy is making, and the commonsense policies that could make it even stronger by ensuring that everyone who works hard has the opportunity to get ahead, especially women and working families.

    This commitment has been a core part of the President’s Year of Action and a priority since the start of his administration, which is why he has put forth a range of policies that would help women and working families get ahead, from raising the minimum wage, to ensuring equal pay for equal work, to increasing access to high-quality child care and paid family leave. This week’s address follows remarks the President delivered on Friday at Rhode Island College, where he discussed the importance of harnessing our economy’s momentum by making policy choices that will help women and all working parents fully participate in and contribute to our economy.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • Six Quotes to Read: The President's Remarks in Providence

    Today, the President headed to Rhode Island College in Providence to continue his focus on our economy’s progress and how we can build on it by expanding opportunity for women and working families. While there, he sat down with a few working parents, small business owners, students, and faculty for a roundtable discussion about policies that could help working families right now and continue to grow our economy -- and then he delivered remarks on campus.

    Here are six quotes you need to read from what he had to say. Take a look, share your favorites, and read his full remarks here.

    "Moms and dads deserve a great place to drop their kids off every day that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg. In many states, sending your child to daycare costs more than sending them to a public university."

  • Chart of the Week: In 2014, Women Continue to Earn Less Than Men

    We live in a world where women play a foundational role in the strength and growth of our economy.  

    Today, women are the primary breadwinners in more households than ever before. They're graduating from college and graduate school at higher rates than men, and account for almost half of all students in law, businesses and medical school. From doctors and dentists to managers and scientists, women in today’s world are increasingly entering what were once male-dominated occupations.

    And yet, despite decades of progress for women in the workplace, one unfortunate fact remains: Women still earn less than men for the same work. As the President said in Providence, Rhode Island today, "At a time when women are the primary breadwinners in more households than ever, that hurts the whole family if they’re not getting paid fairly."

    On average, women who work full-time all year make 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. That gap is even larger for women of color. For African American women, it’s 64 cents, and for Hispanic women, it’s 56 cents. 

    Take a look at this week’s chart to see how unequal pay persists for hardworking American women: 


  • West Wing Week: 10/31/14 or, "Giving and Sharing"

    This week, the President continued to address the ongoing federal response to Ebola, worked to spur the growth of manufacturing and boost preparedness for natural disasters, and invited some of our youngest scientists and oldest veterans to the White House.

  • What Makes America Exceptional: President Obama Thanks U.S. Health Care Workers Fighting Ebola


    Dr. Kent Brantly Introduces President Obama

    Dr. Kent Brantly delivers remarks during an event with American health care workers fighting Ebola, in the East Room of the White House. October 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    America has never been defined by fear. We are defined by courage and passion and hope and selflessness and sacrifice and a willingness to take on challenges when others can’t and others will not, and ordinary Americans who risk their own safety to help those in need, and who inspire, thereby, the example of others -- all in the constant pursuit of building a better world not just for ourselves but for people in every corner of the Earth.

    -- President Obama, October 29, 2014


  • President Obama on America's Response to Ebola: "When Disease or Disaster Strikes, Americans Help"

    President Obama Provides an Update on Our Response to Ebola in West Africa

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement regarding U.S. health care workers responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, prior to his departure aboard Marine One from the White House South Lawn. October 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Watch on YouTube

    Speaking on the South Lawn of the White House today, President Obama provided an update on America's comprehensive response to end the Ebola outbreak. So far, of the seven Americans treated for Ebola, all have survived. Only two people have contracted Ebola on American soil -- the two Dallas nurses who treated a patient who had contracted the virus in West Africa. And the only American still undergoing treatment is Dr. Craig Spencer, who contracted the disease abroad while working to protect others.

  • We Will Stop Ebola in West Africa

    USAID Administrator Raj Shah meets with Ebola Responders in Liberia

    USAID Administrator Raj Shah and U.S. Ambassador Deborah R. Malac meet with Doland Willis and Gabriel Frank of the U.S. Army JFC Operation United Assistance Liberia at the Ebola Emergency Operations Center in Monrovia. October 14, 2014. (by Morgana Wingard)

    Ed. note: Below are excepts of an op-ed by USAID Administrator Raj Shah for USA Today. Read his op-ed in its entirety here

    In the heart of the Ebola epidemic, there is a clear sense of hope. I've just returned from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where I met dozens of health workers, humanitarians and community leaders who are making a difference in this fight.

    There is no question that the pace, ingenuity, and scale of our global response must continue to grow quickly. But at a time when fear and misinformation spread panic faster than a virus, let's not miss the opportunity to scale up what's working, fix what isn't and bring the best of science, technology and innovation to bear on this devastating disease.

    I spoke with Ebola survivors who now care for sick patients in the very same Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) that saved their lives. I met local workers on burial teams who enter communities threatened by Ebola and endure the stigma of the virus to bury loved ones. At a training session for health care workers, I met a young doctor from Germany who gave up her holiday to put on a personal protective suit in the stifling heat and train others to work in the hot zone. We need hundreds more just like her. And we must ensure that when these brave individuals do volunteer to serve, we not prevent or unduly discourage them from undertaking this indispensable and selfless work.

  • Weekly Address: Focused on the Fight Against Ebola

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 24, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the President discussed the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa. This week, we continued to focus on domestic preparedness, with the creation of new CDC guidelines and the announcement of new travel measures ensuring all travelers from the three affected countries are directed to and screened at one of five airports.

    The President emphasized that it’s important to follow the facts, rather than fear, as New Yorkers did yesterday when they stuck to their daily routine. Ebola is not an easily transmitted disease, and America is leading the world in the fight to stamp it out in West Africa.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

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  • After Beating Ebola, Nurse Nina Pham Shares a Hug with the President

    President Obama Greets Nina Pham in the Oval Office

    President Barack Obama greets Nina Pham, a Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola after caring for an infected patient in Texas, in the Oval Office, Oct. 24, 2014. Pham is virus-free after being treated at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    While caring for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital earlier this month, 26-year-old nurse Nina Pham was also infected with the disease. After first being hospitalized at the Texas hospital, she was later transferred to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to continue treatment.

    But today, 15 days after she first tested positive for Ebola, Nina was declared Ebola-free. Shortly after she left the hospital, President Obama welcomed her to the Oval Office.