Monday, March 16, 2009

Council on Women and Girls is a Step in the Right Direction

President Obama announced on Wednesday the formation of the White House Council on Women and Girls to be chaired by his senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and headed by Tina Tchen, Office of Public Liaison Director. This is yet another step forward toward economic security for women of all ages.

The Council will focus on the following areas during its first year:

  • Improving women’s economic security by ensuring that each of the agencies is working to directly improve the economic status of women.

  • Working with each agency to ensure that the administration evaluates and develops policies that establish a balance between work and family.

  • Working hand-in-hand with the Vice President, the Justice Department’s Office of Violence against Women and other government officials to find new ways to prevent violence against women, at home and abroad.

  • Finally, the critical work of the Council will be to help build healthy families and improve women’s health care.
This ambitious agenda, though broad, will hopefully hone in on key policies and provisions to help elder women improve their economic security. Even with Social Security, 12 percent of women age 65+ lived below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or $10, 400 in 2007. We know the FPL is an outdated measure that does not truly capture what it costs for an individual to be economically secure, and that many women whose income is above the FPL still cannot meet their basic needs. The Council, which comprises the secretaries of each department and members of the economic team, will no doubt offer diverse ideas and perspectives on how to improve the lives’ of women and girls.

We are glad women’s issues will be discussed by the Council on a regular basis. Discussion is the first step to advancing positive change. We look forward to working with the Council to turn its discussion into real economic improvements for women and their families.

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