On March 4th, the Center for American Progress and the White House Council on Women and Girls held an event with administration officials and policy experts to discuss the new White House report, “Women in America, Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being.” The report, which is the first of its kind in nearly 50 years, addresses women’s present role in family life, education, employment, health, and crime in American society. It also challenges policymakers, researchers, and advocates to do more to further the collection of gender-specific data in the future.
Preeta Bansal, Senior Policy Advisor and General Council from the Office of Management and Budget, and Dr. Rebecca Blank, Acting Deputy Secretary at the Department of Commerce, introduced the substance of the report and outlined how to use the website to access this data.
Following their presentations there was a panel discussion featuring Tina Tchen, the First Lady’s Chief of Staff and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, Heather Boushey, Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress, Barbara Gault, Executive Director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Avis Jones DeWeever, Executive Director of the National Council of Negro Women, and Ana Harvey, Assistant Administrator for Women’s Business Ownership at the U.S. Small Busines Administration. The panelists took questions from audience members who raised concerns about issues like access to comprehensive health care services and resources that can help improve workplace flexibility.
In response, the panelists discussed how the administration is already making targeted efforts to remedy these challenges. For example, colleges have seen a surge in female enrollment and graduation rates. However, women are still under-represented in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition, the number of women in the workplace has risen substantially, but women still earn less than men, partly because women are still concentrated in lower-paying and traditionally female perceived occupations. The Administration’s STEM initiatives, like Change the Equation and Race to the Top, are focused on getting girls excited about involvement in these fields and ensuring that they are paid equally for their contributions once they enter the workforce.
This is just one of the many key areas outlined in the report. It is our hope that reports like this will spark continued discussions regarding the status of women and girls and inspire proactive change.
Jennifer Kaplan is the Deputy Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls