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Further Explanation of the White House Council on Women. From The White House Press Office:

The White House Council on Women will be composed of the heads of every Cabinet and Cabinet-level agency and will meet on a regular basis. Its purpose is to ensure that each agency takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies it drafts, the programs it creates, and the pieces of legislation it supports.

Given the critical importance of its work, the Council will have strong leadership from the White House and will be directly accountable to the President. That’s why the President is appointing Valerie Jarrett, one of his closest advisors and most senior members of his Administration, to lead it. Tina Tchen, another senior member of the White House Staff, will serve as the Council’s Executive Director.

Watch Obama Announce the White House Council for Women

Today, women make up a growing share of America’s workforce and the majority of students in its colleges and law schools. Women are breaking barriers in every field, from science and business to athletics and the armed forces and are serving at the highest levels of government.

At the same time, women still earn just 78 cents for every dollar men make; one in four women still experience domestic violence in their lifetimes; women are 50 percent of America’s population, but just 17 percent of our Congress; and women are 45 percent of the workforce, but only 3% of its Fortune 500 CEOs.

These issues are by no means just women’s issues. When women make less than men for the same work, this hurts families who find themselves with less income, and have to work harder just to get by. When a job doesn’t offer family leave, this also hurts men who want to help care for a new baby or an ailing parent. When there’s no affordable child care, this hurts children who wind up in second rate care, or spend afternoons alone in front of the TV.

The President believes that when inequalities like these stubbornly persist, even in this new century, then we as a country need to take a hard look at where we’re falling short, who we’re leaving out and what that means for the prosperity and vitality of our nation.

That’s why he is establishing this Council – to continue building on government efforts like Title IX and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act that have made progress towards leveling the playing field for women and girls – and enhance them.