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Congresswoman Norma Torres

Representing the 35th District of California

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Torres Leads 35 Democratic Women in Calling on Trump to Keep the White House Council on Women and Girls

July 18, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA) led 35 Members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group in sending a letter to the Trump administration opposing the disbanding the White House Council on Women and Girls.  The Council, created by the Obama administration in 2009, works to ensure that agencies take into consideration the needs of women and girls when drafting policies and allows an open line of communication between the White House and women’s advocacy and policy groups.

 

“Women in the United States and around the globe continue to face structural barriers that keep them from reaching their full potential,” said Torres.  “This Council showed a commitment at the highest level of government to tearing down those barriers and helping women and girls succeed.  It would be shameful for this administration to turn its back on that commitment.”

 

In their letter, Members detail the Council’s mission and accomplishments, including the United State of Women Summit which highlighted the advancements women have achieved and the obstacles they still face in the United States and abroad as well as the establishment of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.  Despite these accomplishments and the ongoing need for such a body, recent news reports have suggested the President plans to dismantle the Council.

 

“When women and girls succeed, it benefits all of us,” continued Torres.  “It seems completely counterproductive for a President who has been criticized for his positions on women’s issues to get rid of a council that is tasked with keeping the White House informed on issues impacting women and making sure the policies of the administration take into account the needs of women and girls.  The President should be working to keep the Council in place and ensure it remains active.”

 

The full text of the letter can be found HERE and below.

 

 

July 18, 2017

 

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

 

Dear President Trump,

 

As Members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group (DWWG), we write to express our concerns regarding the reported disbanding of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

 

Since its inception in 2009, the Council has worked to ensure that agencies take into consideration the needs of women and girls when drafting policies, creating programs, and supporting legislation. Members of the Council are heads of every federal agency and major White House office, which ensures that everyone shares in the responsibility of monitoring policy impacts on women and girls.

 

When President Obama established the Council, he demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of women and girls within the administration. While women have made significant gains in educational attainment and the workforce, inequalities persist that keep families and communities from reaching their full potential. The Council worked to address these issues for the benefit of all Americans.

 

In 2014, the Council, along with the Office of the Vice President of the United States, helped to establish the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. This Taskforce worked to ensure American colleges and universities are in compliance with federal regulations regarding sexual assault on campuses, and to help foster a safer environment for all students.

 

Last June, the Council hosted the United State of Women Summit to highlight the advancements women have achieved as well as the obstacles they still face in the United States and abroad. The inaugural event featured Obama administration leadership along with business, political, and community leaders, and focused on educational opportunity, economic empowerment, access to health care, violence against women, business innovation, civic engagement, and more.

 

In addition to the positive, tangible achievements of the Council, its existence with a dedicated office and staff sends a clear message about an administration’s priorities. As former Executive Director Tina Tchen remarked, the office serves as a signal to career staff that they need to consider gaps in equality. The Council also allows an open line of communication between the White House and women’s advocacy and policy groups.

 

Disbanding the office that deals with women’s issues erodes efforts for equality and signals that women’s issues are not a priority for this administration. Rather than disbanding the Council, we respectfully urge the administration to fully staff the White House Council on Women and Girls. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Norma J. Torres                                                           Lois Frankel

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Brenda L. Lawrence                                                   Jackie Speier

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Robin L. Kelly                                                            Grace Napolitano

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Barbara Lee                                                                 Sheila Jackson Lee

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Doris Matsui                                                               Frederica Wilson

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Colleen Hanabusa                                                       Stephanie Murphy

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Niki Tsongas                                                               Suzan DelBene

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Carol Shea-Porter                                                        Carolyn B. Maloney

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Julia Brownley                                                            Kathy Castor

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Debbie Dingell                                                            Nydia M. Velázquez

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Grace Meng                                                                Eleanor Holmes Norton

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Dina Titus                                                                   Gwen S. Moore

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Pramila Jayapal                                                           Zoe Lofgren

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress         

 

Debbie Wasserman Schultz                                        Marcy Kaptur

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Jan Schakowsky                                                          Joyce Beatty

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Anna G. Eshoo                                                           Betty McCollum

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

Susan Davis                                                                Alma Adams  

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress              

 

Cheri Bustos                                                               Ann M. Kuster

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress