The White House Council on Women and Girls was an advisory council within the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
of the Executive Office of the President of the United States
. It was established by on March 11, 2009, with a broad mandate to advise the president on issues relating to the welfare of women and girls in order to ensure gender equality
[''Executive Order 13506'', Washington, DC: President Barack Obama, The White House, 11 March 2009, Obama, B., Retrieved 27 January 2014.]
It also ensured that other White House agencies acted in a manner to allow all things to be possible for all people. The Council was chaired by Valerie Jarrett
[A renewed call to action to end rape and sexual assault](_blank)
, ''The White House Blog'' , Washington, DC: Valerie Jarrett, 22 January 2014, Retrieved 24 January 2014.
and included the heads of every federal agency and major White House office.
The Council was not convened during the Trump administration and was disbanded in 2017. A successor body, the White House Gender Policy Council
, was formed under the Biden administration
on January 20, 2021.
President Barack Obama created the council in March 2009, effectively recreating the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach
(1995–2001). This earlier office had acted as a liaison with women's groups, but had been disliked by conservatives.
In his , signed on March 11, 2009, Obama stated:
The executive order lists progress in eliminating barriers to success for women,
including record attendance of women at colleges and graduate schools,
record numbers of female corporate executives and business owners,
and a record number of women in all areas of government.
The executive order then lists areas where inequalities remained.
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
The executive order additionally stated that "too many women lack health insurance .. and that
violence against women and girls remains a global epidemic".
It noted the challenges in guaranteeing equal opportunities in education for girls and women, and that and women had disproportionately suffered from the 2007 financial crisis
The executive order also stated that the issues that affect women are not solely the concerns of women:
The Department of Commerce provided funding and administrative support for the Council.
The Council on Women and Girls was intended to work 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",
[Memorandum establishing White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault](_blank)
, ''The White House: President Barack Obama'', Washington, DC: Office of the Press Secretary, 22 January 2014, Retrieved 24 January 2014.
[Obama admin: Freedom from sexual assault a basic human right](_blank)
, ''MSNBC.com'', New York, NY: NBC Universal, 22 January 2014, Richinick, M., Retrieved 24 January 2014.
including providing assistance to women-owned businesses and to help women enter professions in science, engineering and technology.
The Council was to advise the president on the effects of pending legislation and policy proposals, and to suggest changes and help develop new legislation and proposals to address issues for women and girls.
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
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 a safer environment for students on college and university campuses in the United States.
The Council was instrumental in providing a provision in the Affordable Care Act
for women's contraception without co-pay
and for general preventative healthcare and breastfeeding services, as well as with policies on education
, equal pay
, working families, and violence against women. It also focused on issues for women with disabilities, trans women
, women of color and women of low-income communities.
On October 4–5, 2010, the Council and ''Fortune
'' magazine hosted the Most Powerful Women Summit
for female entrepreneurs.
On April 22, 2013, the Council and the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University
hosted a White House conference on girls' leadership and civic education.
On June 14, 2016, the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted the first United State of Women Summit
. This conference brought attention to the successes the Obama Administration had made in promoting gender equality, as well as the issues and obstacles that women continued to face domestically and internationally.
Guests at the summit included President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
, and Planned Parenthood
President Cecile Richards
After being disused for the first several months of the Trump administration
the Council was disbanded in mid-2017. Trump called the council's efforts "redundant".
The following list reflects council leaders, members, and attendees as of May 2014.
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.
The following individuals served in the role of support staff to the Council:
* Lynn Rosenthal
, Office of the Vice President
* Jocelyn Frye
, Office of the First Lady
* Meredith DeFraites
, Office of National Drug Control Policy
* Rachana Bhowmik
, Office of Cabinet Affairs
* John Holdren
, Office of Science and Technology Policy
External linksThe White House Council on Women and GirlsAcvancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color
December 2016 report by the White House Council on Women and Girls
Council on Women and Girls