THE WHITE HOUSE
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.