The White House takes women’s issues seriously. Truly.


Ms Tchen and Valerie Jarrett, who has been appointed chair of the board, initially considered creating such a cabinet-level advisory post or a broader gender ambassador, but ultimately decided not to do so. It sounds counterintuitive, but they felt it would give the designated “gender person” less power whenever issues like sexual harassment in the military or sexual assault on college campuses arose.

“If you created a separate office and kept all gender issues concentrated in one place, the temptation would be to look down the cabinet table, point to the gender person and say, ‘It’s not. not my problem, it’s their problem. said Tchen.

Instead, Ms Tchen and Ms Jarrett structured the board like a consultancy firm, pushing each agency to focus on gender issues within its own ranks and on a broader political agenda. He worked with the Department of Transportation, for example, to train bus drivers and flight attendants to recognize the signs of sex trafficking.

The board, however, still lacked a full-time leader – Ms Tchen was also director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Ms Jarrett was Mr Obama’s senior advisor – and neither did plus reports directly to the president. And he didn’t have much authority to design the policies himself.

“It was located in the Office of Public Engagement, so it had more of a public relations or outreach function,” said Lyric Thompson, senior director of policy and advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women.

And, added Ms Thompson, the Council tended to neglect foreign policy issues. Much of the activity on global gender initiatives has instead come from the State Department, under the leadership of Ms. Clinton, who, as Secretary of State, appointed Ms. Verveer to be the country’s first ambassador for global women’s issues.

The advice was dismantled again in 2017, under the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who also left the post of Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues vacant until December 2019.

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