Today, President Obama is holding a backyard event in Seattle focusing on women and the economy. Here at the White House, the National Economic Council (NEC) is releasing a report titled Jobs and Economic Security for America’s Women. Since his first day in office, President Obama has focused on laying the foundation for economic growth that creates good jobs and a healthy economy for all Americans. Strengthening opportunities for women in our economy is a key focus of the President’s Economic Agenda.
Women are a growing share of our workforce, our entrepreneurs, and our innovators. As the majority of college graduates and nearly 50 percent of the workforce, women are in the position to drive our 21st century economy. Women are an increasing share of breadwinners for their families. In almost two thirds of American families, women are either the primary or co-breadwinner.
The fact is that women also face a number of longer-term challenges to workforce participation including the wage gap and female underrepresentation in higher levels of management. Further, specific groups of women including single mothers, retirees and minorities face additional challenges.
The NEC report outlines the economic landscape for women today and details many of the ways the Obama Administration is committed to strengthening America’s economy and providing opportunities for women across the country. The Administration has implemented and proposed policies that form a comprehensive plan to support women at all stages of their education and careers. For example, we have a number of polices that focus on training and educating women to prepare them with the tools and education to compete in the workforce. In addition, women owned businesses have benefitted from the Obama Administration policies including tax credits through the Small Business Jobs Bill, the HIRE Act, the Recovery Act and the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund.
For these reasons and many others, I am proud of this Administration’s efforts on behalf of women. As you may know, the first bill signed by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Shortly thereafter the President and this Administration appointed 2 women to the Supreme Court, strengthened Title IX and Equal Pay enforcement, and increased funding to help victims of domestic violence. In my role as Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, we have strived to make sure that all of the President’s major initiatives have helped women – from the Recovery Act, to the Affordable Care Act, and Wall Street Reform.
We understand that times are tough and there are many challenges ahead. But, we also know that together we can make a better future for the next generation of women.
Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls