Council on Women and Girls Blog

  • Promoting Equal Futures Across the Lifespan

    Nora Super, Tina Tchen, Nadina Gracia, Carolyn Colvin, and Kathy Greenlee speak at the White House

    Nora Super, Tina Tchen, Nadina Gracia, Carolyn Colvin, and Kathy Greenlee speak at the White House, April 24, 2015.

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the White House Conference on Aging website. See the original post here.

    On April 24, I was honored to represent our nation’s older women in a roundtable discussion hosted by the White House Council on Women and Girls.

    The meeting, “Promoting Equal Futures across the Lifespan,” brought together leaders from the fields of aging, health, abuse in later life, and financial security to discuss key issues affecting older women, complementing the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.

    I was joined by Deputy Director for Minority Health Dr. Nadine Gracia, Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin, and Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging. Kicking off the conversation, Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls, Tina Tchen, spoke of the commitment of the Council to address inequalities and barriers facing women and girls of all ages. Tina’s leadership in expanding our national dialogue on women and girls to include older women sets an example I hope others will follow.

  • Women: Don’t Forget Your Own Health

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' blog. See the original post here.

    As a mom, I know how easy it is to put the health of your family before your own. It’s hard to balance it all – from a quick run, to a busy job, to making the parent-teacher conferences, all while trying to eat a balanced diet. It can be challenging.

    But as we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, which kicks off National Women’s Health Week, it’s a great time to remember you can’t take care of your loved ones, unless you take care of yourself.

  • “Don’t Look to Your Left, Don’t Look to Your Right -- It’s on You.”

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on campus sexual assault

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on campus sexual assault, at the University of Illinois, in Urbana, Illinois, April 23, 2015. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    “Don’t look to your left, don’t look to your right, it’s on you.” Vice President Biden spoke these powerful words last Thursday at a rally held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to address the travesty of sexual violence on our nation’s college and university campuses. The Vice President galvanized an enthusiastic mass of students, administrators, community leaders, advocates, and survivors to mark Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and to celebrate the "It’s On Us" campaign.

    It’s on Us, launched by the Administration last September, is an initiative that focuses both on the dignity and rights of survivors, and on the broader societal responsibility for preventing and putting an end to sexual assault on college and university campuses. By proclaiming “it’s on us,” the campaign emphasizes that everyone—including bystanders and those not immediately impacted by sexual assault, as well as institutions like schools, law enforcement, religious and athletic organizations, and others—must step up to the plate. Bystanders, both as individuals and as a collective, have the opportunity and the agency to intervene when someone else is at risk. They also have the ability to discourage harmful behaviors by establishing a new conversation on healthy relationships, positive images of women, and a rejection of gender inequality.

  • InnovateHER: Weaving New Stories for Women’s Lives

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Small Business Administration's blog. See the original post here.

    The topic of this year’s Women’s History Month is Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives. As we look back at the changes throughout history, women’s presence in our economy has shifted significantly. Now we have more women in the workforce than ever before, a number that is close to surpassing that of men. Gender equality is not simply about getting a woman a spot at the metaphorical table anymore. Women have made great strides in education, the workforce, and their role in the economy, BUT there still are not enough women in leadership positions.

    Consider this, the number of women venture capital (VC) partners has dropped to 6 percent, from 10 percent in 1999. This directly correlates with women’s access to capital; only about 7% of venture capital funding in the U.S. goes to women. A Harvard Business School study asked potential investors to rate a series of pitches, some of which were narrated by women and some by men. Even when the scripts for the pitches were exactly the same, only 32% of people said they'd fund the woman, compared to 68% who said they would fund the man.

  • Moms Matter in Our Fight Against Climate Change

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the EPA Connect blog. See the original post here.

    Our children mean the world to us.  So as moms, when we say we must meet our moral obligation to leave the next generation a world that is safe and healthy, we mean it.  For us moms, it’s personal. It’s our children and grandchildren who are currently suffering from the effects of pollution.  It’s our children and grandchildren who make up the future generations each one of us is obligated to protect.   This March marks Women’s History Month; a time to recognize the unwavering strength of the mothers coming together to organize, speak out, and stand up for the health of their children.

    EPA plays a critical role in protecting our children from pollution by keeping our air and water clean and safe, and by taking historic steps to fight climate change.  And it turns out, efforts to combat climate change double as public health protection, too.  The carbon pollution that fuels climate change comes packaged with other dangerous pollutants that cause smog and soot.  With 1-in-10 children in the U.S. today already dealing with asthma—and even higher rates in communities of color—we must do all that we can to reduce harmful exposure.

    That’s why EPA’s effort to set first-ever limits on our biggest source of pollution, power plants, is so important. And EPA is proud to work with mothers like us around the country, compelled to action on behalf of our kids’ health—and the health of generations to come.

  • Stepping out of the Shadows, Together for Women and Girls

    Today, the Office of National AIDS Policy, Office of the Vice President, and the White House Council on Women and Girls commemorate the 10th observance of National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Along with other Federal, national and community organizations and advocates, today we celebrate our accomplishments to date in improving the lives of women and girls affected by HIV, and recognize the work still ahead.

    Our observance highlights the strides we have made in HIV prevention and care for women and girls across the United States. The introduction of antiretroviral drugs means that fewer women die from AIDS and pregnant women have reliable means by which to protect their babies from the virus. In fact, rates of mother-to-child transmission continue to fall, despite more women with HIV giving birth. Under the Affordable Care Act, new health plans are now required to cover HIV screening without cost sharing, for everyone aged 15 to 65, pregnant women, and others who may be at increased risk.