Written by Jocelyn Samuels, Vice President for Education and Employment
National Women's Law Center
I could get used to this. On Wednesday, I was invited to the White House for a second time -– on this occasion to witness the President signing an Executive Order to create a White House Council on Women and Girls. Needless to say, it was a thrilling experience. Both the President and the First Lady were in attendance, along with numerous members of the Cabinet (including some of the men – although, as the President noted, they were all seated in the second row) and of Congress. And the President’s remarks show that he really gets it. He talked, among other things, about the continuing wage gap, the persistent glass ceiling on women’s opportunities in the workplace, and the fact that one in four women is subject to domestic violence.
And he gave a shout-out to strong Title IX enforcement, pointing out that both Lisa Leslie and Dominique Dawes were in the audience. (A picture was later taken of the very tall President with the even taller Lisa Leslie -– his huge grin showed how much he enjoyed that interaction!)
The President’s words were inspirational. As he said, it's up to us to "ensure that our daughters and granddaughters have no limits on their dreams, no obstacles to their achievements -- and that they have opportunities their mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers never dreamed of."
It will, of course, take more than eloquent rhetoric to make that happen. And there’s lots of work ahead to make sure that the Council will in fact fulfill its mission of ensuring that agencies consider and address the impact of their policies and programs on women and coordinating a federal response to the challenges still faced by women and girls.
But what a start to the challenge. And what a thrill to have been a witness to it.
Crossposted from NWLC's blog.