Obama Creates Council on Women and Girls

Earlier today President Obama signed an executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. Flanked by Nancy Pelosi, Valerie Jarrett and White House Public Liasion Tina Tchen (the two women will head the office), Obama declared:


I sign this order not just as a President, but as a son, a grandson, a husband, and a father, because growing up, I saw my mother put herself through school and follow her passion for helping others. But I also saw how she struggled to raise me and my sister on her own, worrying about how she'd pay the bills and educate herself and provide for us.

Some critics see the council as an empty gesture -- a politically expedient way for Obama to parry criticisms about his predominantly white, male cabinet. But others point out that Obama is moving in the right direction, especially considering that Bush disbanded the White House Women's Office set up by Clinton.

What will the council actually do? According to White House.gov, the office will work to draft policy in 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.

As Sarah Hepola writes in Broadsheet, " ... there's not exactly an excess of reasons to celebrate. So let's enjoy this one, shall we?"

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