On March 11, 2009, not long after taking office, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the inter-agency White House Council on Women and Girls (CWG), and beginning to shape his Administration’s unwavering commitment to equality and opportunity for all. This body is made up of leaders from all the major federal agencies, and built to ensure the programs and policies of the federal government are being crafted and implemented with the wellbeing of our women and girls at the forefront of our thinking and priorities.
Five years later, CWG continues its steadfast commitment to ensuring the rights, security, and dignity of women in America and around the world.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I am thrilled to kick off the CWG’s March blog series, which will highlight the wonderful progress we have made, while underscoring the work that lies ahead. Each day this month, an Administration official will post a blog to highlight how their office is working to support CWG’s charge, and women everywhere.
This Women’s History Month arrives at a time of great importance, as we approach the March 31st deadline for open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. Millions of women are securing health insurance, many for the first time, while the majority of women who already have insurance are already receiving better coverage with stronger protections and benefits.
The President’s ongoing push for an increase in the minimum wage is pertinent as well, as women make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers and serve as primary breadwinners more than ever before. As the President has said, no one working full time in this country should have to raise children in poverty.
This Spring, the President will also host the first ever White House Summit on Working Families, an effort to convene thought leaders, business leaders, and advocates from around the country to develop public and private sector solutions for the major economic and social challenges facing families and businesses today.
These blogs and accompanying fact-sheets will all be hosted on the CWG home page, and shared daily. I hope you will follow these posts to learn more about what we are up to and how you can get involved. And please be sure to share them through social media.
Women have built an extraordinary legacy of determination and tenacity across all cultures and throughout history, often crashing through barriers, and scaling seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Together, let’s continue our work to promote the limitless strength, courage, and potential of women and girls today, and for generations to come.
Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.