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Presidential Memorandum -- Enhanced Collection of Relevant Data and Statistics Relating to Women

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT:    Enhanced Collection of Relevant Data and Statistics Relating to Women

I am proud to work with the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of Commerce on this week's release of Women in America, a report detailing the status of American women in the areas of families and income, health, employment, education, and violence and crime. This report provides a snapshot of the status of American women today, serving as a valuable resource for Government officials, academics, members of non-profit, nongovernmental, and news organizations, and others.

My Administration is committed to ensuring that Federal programs achieve policy goals in the most cost-effective manner. The Women in America report, together with the accompanying website collection of relevant data, will assist Government officials in crafting policies in light of available statistical evidence. It will also assist the work of the nongovernmental sector, including journalists, public policy analysts, and academic researchers, by providing data that allow greater understanding of policies and programs.

Preparation of this report revealed the vast data resources of the Federal statistical agencies. It also revealed some gaps in data collection. Gathering and analyzing additional data to fill in the gaps could help policymakers gather a more accurate and comprehensive view of the status and needs of American women.

Accordingly, I hereby request the heads of executive departments and agencies, where possible within existing collections of data and in light of budgetary constraints, to identify and to seek to fill in gaps in statistics and improve survey methodology relating to women wherever appropriate, including in the broad areas covered by the Women in America report: families and income, health, employment, education, and violence and crime.

Examples of some of the efforts that could be undertaken by departments and agencies with respect to the gathering or design of comprehensive data related to women include the following:

(a) Maternal Mortality. I encourage the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to continue to work with States and other registration areas to complete the expeditious adoption of the most current standards for the collection of information on vital events, as well as the transition to electronic reporting systems. Maternal mortality is an important indicator of women's health both internationally and nationally. In the United States, maternal mortality statistics are based upon the information recorded on death certificates and collected by State and local vital records offices. The NCHS compiles the data across the 50 States and other registration areas. Due to concerns about data quality in the ascertainment of maternal mortality statistics, the 2003 revision of the standard death certificate introduced improved standards for collecting data. Until all 50 States and registration areas adopt the new data standards, formulating a national-level maternal mortality ratio remains difficult.

(b) Women in Leadership in Corporate America. Women participate in every sector of the workforce. Their current role in corporate leadership is an important indicator of their progress. I encourage the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission to seek to supplement the information it already collects by seeking to collect, among other data, information on the presence of women in governance positions in corporations, in order to shed further light on the role of women in corporate America.

(c) Women in Leadership in Public Service. I encourage the Corporation for National and Community Service to include statistics about the role of women in diverse aspects of public service within its planned work on measuring civic engagement.

This memorandum shall be carried out to the extent permitted by law, consistent with the legal authorities of executive departments and agencies and subject to the availability of appropriations. Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the authority granted by law to a department or agency, or the head thereof; or the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA

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