Obama creates White House Council for Women and Girls

And there was much rejoicing.

Published March 11, 2009 6:56PM (EDT)

In 1995, Bill Clinton created a White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach. And then, in the dark ages, it was disbanded. But today Obama cracks open the window just a smidge more by signing an executive order to establish the White House Council on Women and Girls, headed by longtime women's advocates Valerie Jarrett (also a close friend to Obama) and Tina Tchen.

“The purpose of this council is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy,” Obama said in a statement. The White House memo puts it like this:

"The mission of the Council will be to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families."

In December, 50 women's groups lobbied the president to create a bureau that was itself Cabinet-level, which this is not, but that doesn't mean anyone's complaining. Planned Parenthood "applauds" the move in a statement released earlier today. As Susan Scanlan of the National Council of Women’s Organizations told Politico's Josh Gerstein: "It's certainly more than we have had in the last eight years. We're pretty happy with this administration." 

And so are we. If you are watching the news, or if you're a sentient being who can digest solid food, then you know there's not exactly an excess of reasons to celebrate. So let's enjoy this one, shall we? 

By Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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