White House Council on Women and Girls

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Council on Women and Girls
Council overview
FormedMarch 11, 2009
HeadquartersWhite House
Council executive
  • Chair
  • Executive Director
Parent CouncilOffice of Intergovernmental Affairs
WebsiteThe White House Council on Women and Girls

The White House Council on Women and Girls was a council within the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. It was established by Executive Order 13506 on March 11, 2009, with a broad mandate to advise the United States President on issues relating to the welfare of women and girls.[1] It also ensured that other White House agencies acted in a manner to allow all things to be possible for all people.[2] A former chair of the council is Valerie Jarrett.[3]


Obama speaks with Jarrett in a West Wing corridor.

In his Executive Order 13506, signed on March 11, 2009, President Obama stated:

The purpose of this order is to establish a coordinated Federal response to issues that particularly impact the lives of women and girls and to ensure that Federal programs and policies address and take into account the distinctive concerns of women and girls, including women of color and those with disabilities.[1]

The executive order lists progress in eliminating barriers to success for women,[1] including record attendance of women at colleges and graduate schools,[1] record numbers of female corporate executives and business owners,[1] and a record number of women in all areas of government.[1]

The executive order then goes on to list areas where inequalities remain.[1] It stated that the average American woman earns "78 cents for every dollar men make" and that women are not significantly represented in careers involving hard sciences.[1] The executive order additionally stated that "too many women lack health insurance...[and that] "violence against women and girls remains a global epidemic."[1] Guaranteeing equal opportunities in education for girls and women continues to be challenging; and women have disproportionately experienced the serious effects of America's economic crisis that began in 2007.[1]

The executive order also stated that the issues that affect women are not solely the concerns of women.[1] Executive Order 13506:

When jobs do not offer family leave, that affects men who wish to help care for their families. When women earn less than men for the same work, that affects families who have to work harder to make ends meet. When our daughters do not have the same educational and career opportunities as our sons, that affects entire communities, our economy, and our future as a Nation.[1]

The Council was disbanded in 2017. President Trump called the council's efforts "redundant".[4]


The Council on Women and Girls worked with Federal "executive departments and agencies to provide a coordinated Federal response to issues that have an impact on the lives of women and girls,"[1][3][5][6] including providing assistance to women-owned businesses and working "to increase the participation of women in the science, engineering, and technology workforce, and to ensure that Federal programs and policies adequately take those impacts into account."[1]

The Council was "responsible for providing recommendations to the President on the effects of pending legislation and executive branch policy proposals; for suggesting changes to Federal programs or policies to address issues of special importance to women and girls; for reviewing and recommending changes to policies that have a distinct impact on women in the Federal workforce; and for assisting in the development of legislative and policy proposals of special importance to women and girls."[1]

The Department of Commerce provided funding and administrative support for the Council.[1]


The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault was a development of both the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Office of the Vice President of the United States.[3][5] The Task Force was established to protect American college and university students from sexual assault, to ensure that American colleges and universities are in compliance with federal regulations regarding sexual assault on campuses, and to help provide for a safer environment for students on campuses of higher learning in the United States.[3][5]

On June 14, 2016, the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted the United State of Women Summit to highlight both the successes the Obama Administration has made in promoting gender equality as well as the issues and obstacles that women still face in the United States and around the world.[7][8] Guests at the summit included President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Cecile Richards.[9][10]

Council Members[edit]

The following list reflects Council leaders, members, and attendees as of May 2014.

Council on Women and Girls
  • Valerie Jarrett (Senior Advisor to the President and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement)
  • Tina Tchen (Executive Director Council on Women and Girls)
  • Avra Siegel (Deputy Director Council on Women and Girls)

The executive order allowed for a member of the Council to designate a senior-level official who is a part of the member's department, agency, or office, and who is a full-time officer or employee of the Federal Government, to perform the Council functions of the member.[1]

Support staff[edit]

The following individuals served in the role of support staff to the Council:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Executive Order 13506, Washington, DC: President Barack Obama, The White House, 11 March 2009, Obama, B., Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  2. ^ "The White House Council on Women and Girls". whitehouse.gov. 2015-12-04. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  3. ^ a b c d A renewed call to action to end rape and sexual assault, The White House Blog , Washington, DC: Valerie Jarrett, 22 January 2014, Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Listening tour informs state Council on Women and Girls". Times Union. 2017-12-29. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  5. ^ a b c Memorandum establishing White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, The White House: President Barack Obama, Washington, DC: Office of the Press Secretary, 22 January 2014, Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  6. ^ Obama admin: Freedom from sexual assault a basic human right, MSNBC.com, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 22 January 2014, Richinick, M., Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  7. ^ "FACT SHEET: New Steps to Advance Equal Pay on the Seventh Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act". The White House. January 29, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  8. ^ Mettler, Katie (June 7, 2016). "First lady Michelle Obama teams up with Oprah to host 'United State of Women' summit at White House". Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  9. ^ Rhodan, Maya (June 14, 2016). "President Obama at Women's Summit: This Is What a Feminist Looks Like". Time. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  10. ^ Miller, Ryan (June 14, 2016). "Message from women's summit: More needs to be done". USA TODAY. Retrieved June 15, 2016.

External links[edit]