Obama’s White House Women’s and Girls’ Council Is Coming

President Obama will sign an executive order tomorrow establishing the White House Women’s and Girls’ Council.

The council will address a range of issues affecting women and girls in the United States and will be chaired by Valerie Jarrett, an advisor to Obama. 

President Obama today signed an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls.

According to a memo obtained by the Washington Post

"The mission of the Council will be to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families…"

These challenges include pay equity and, as CNN.com put it, "the balancing act working mothers face." The office is Obama’s attempt to ensure that key issues affecting women and girls in this country remain front and center in the White House. 

And while The Washington Post’s take is that since Obama has two daughters and a wife and was elected with a large percentage of the overall female vote he has both personal and political reasons to create this office, I’m banking on less political/cynical reasoning for doing what he did. 

Clearly, establishing this office is the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for women and girls in this country, sure, but more than that it’s the right thing to do for this country. The issues that affect women and girls primarily, affect everyone ultimately. Pay equity? Pay discrimination is harmful not just to women but to the families that rely on that paycheck regardless of whether it’s a single or two parent family. Work-life balance for working women? We’ve certainly set up a society in which there is no balance – unsupportive professional environments for mothers  who want to return to work after the birth of a child, lack of support for nursing mothers, unaffordable child care, and more. These challenges create a ripple effect where we all end up paying for our country’s refusal to address these so-called "women’s issues."

Hopefully, this is not, as Chris Cillizza writes in The Fix, simply a "symbolic" gesture for those close to the President and for the women who voted for him but a concrete manifestation of Obama’s understanding that, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, inequality anywhere is a threat to equality everywhere. The establishment of a White House Council for Women and Girls signals, to me, a new approach to understanding how to remedy the inequities that exist, still, for women and girls in this country. 

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  • invalid-0

    Will the White House Women’s and Girls’ Council be addressing:

    The fact that men make up over 80% of recent layoffs, 90% of workplace deaths, 98% of deaths in Iraq… by far the majority of homeless and imprisoned, and under 40% of the college graduates?

    Will it address the epidemic of Female Teachers sleeping with underage male students?

    American Women are totally oblivious to the hole they’re putting themselves into.

    Where have all the Men gone?

    And you haven’t even begun to ask yourselves why.

    Paybacks gonna be a bitch, that’s for sure.

  • invalid-0

    Men this men that GO AWAY! You get everything just by being born male. Your rights are 100% guaranteed at birth. For women in this country and the world. Nothing NADA we are put down everyday in this country. Obviously being male makes you close minded to womens issues. Walk in a discriminated womens life for 1 day or week then say something!!

    What happened to the Paycheck Fairness Act being passed??? Let me guess the damned male republicans don’t want women to be paid fairly!! So what else is new.

    THANK YOU OBAMA now get this Act passed.

    Can you tell I am PISSED!

  • invalid-0

    I’m really OLD
    What happened to the ERA?
    This guy is just an idiot, he has no clue- time to put him on ignore
    PS The reason why all those men are being fired- because they hold the high paying jobs in construction, in finance etc.- women, having been discriminated against for millenia, have the part time lower paying jobs-often without benefits
    So guess who gets fired first in this economy????? The expensive MALES
    Also since women were so discriminated against in all these fields- being shuttled to the pink jungle such as education and nursing and service industries- guess what- these are the jobs that have held up in this economy. Plus the pay scales are lower.
    Hey grow up idiot Mark , grow some brains instead of just testicles and maybe you can figure it out all on your own

  • invalid-0

    Aww, poor baby, you have it so hard being born male, where everything you want is handed to you from birth. We really don’t care, don’t want to hear it, just as you haven’t cared or have wanted to hear it from us. We have asked ourselves why of all of the things that you have brought up, but we know mainly it’s because: men want and order war, or menlike creatures like GW Bush order war, so there you go on that one, men commit more violent acts so there you go on the prison thing, men make much more money, so they are laid off first, but try being a single mother and working 3 part time jobs without benefits- that isn’t much fun either. You spoiled pampered patriarical men are often too lazy to complete college, if something doesn’t go your way, you just quit. Try being a woman and having men beat you, rape you, or try to control you!! Or try being a woman and having men try to control you by trying to take away birth control and your legal right to an abortion. The hole we have dug ourselves into?? You mean the hole men like you keep on TRYING to put us into! Your threat at the end of your post is idiotic and shows what a low life baby that you really are, we want real enlightened men, like Barack Obama, or the kind of men who have voted for Barack Obama. Not your kind! Not ever. At least you are not the kind enlightened, intelligent, educated women want.

  • invalid-0

    THere is also MORE discrimination against men who are fathers, single fathers becuase many bosses on a jobs assume a woman will and now that it is law they must accomidate the woman BUT, they do NOT hvae to accomidate the man. Especially a man who is a single father.
    THere are all areas like Domestic Violence. Many men are afraid to come forward for fear of being arrested adn not beleived as well as losing their children.

  • http://merccommerz.info invalid-0

    It is great for all women and girls, especially the parts about maternity leave and work/life balance. As a young woman who is single, I worry about how these things will affect my life all the time. I hope that by the time I’m ready to have kids in about 10 years many of these things will have changed, but I’m not holding my breath!