Council on Women and Girls
We hope this message finds you well. It has been an exciting and busy week here at The White House, with the start of a new term and great news for women and all Americans.
On Monday, President Obama delivered his Second Inaugural Address. He inspired us with his words, and set the tone for our work by saying: “the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.”
This week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced a decision to rescind the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women. The Department of Defense plans to remove gender-based barriers to service, including combat positions.
President Obama issued a statement reaffirming the Administration’s commitment to protecting the reproductive rights of women in honor of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade which took place on January 22nd.
The President’s second term offers many ways for you to participate in conversations with the President and his team. Read on for opportunities to engage, and don’t forget to follow the Chair of the White House Council on Women & Girls, Valerie Jarrett on Twitter, “@vj44.” We look forward to continuing the conversation!
The White House Council on Women & Girls
The Second Inauguration of Barack Obama
On Monday, January 21st, 2013, President Obama delivered his Second Inaugural Address. The speech was 2,137 words long and took 15 minutes to deliver.
“For our journey is not complete,” he said, “until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”
You can read the official transcript here.
You can watch the video here.
Be a Part of the Next Four Years
The President’s second term will offer many ways for citizens to participate in conversations with the President and his team about the issues that are most important to them, from immigration reform to preventing gun violence to changing our tax code. In keeping with President Obama’s commitment to creating the most accessible and participatory Administration in history, the next four years will feature ongoing opportunities for citizens to add their voices to discussions in Washington, creating an open dialogue and working together to move our country forward.
We put together a video that looks at some of the ways President Obama has engaged with ordinary citizens over the last four years, and highlights ongoing opportunities for Americans to raise their voices and join the national conversation:
Defense Department Expands Combat Role of Women
Thursday marked a historic moment where the Department of Defense moved to integrate women into more occupational fields and positions in the military – including combat. The President released a statement which can be found here, in which he said:
“Today, by moving to open more military positions—including ground combat units—to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens. This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan—patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender.”
More on this announcement can be found here.
Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary
On January 22nd, 2013, President Obama issued the following statement on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade:
“On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we reaffirm its historic commitment to protect the health and reproductive freedom of women across this country and stand by its guiding principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters, and women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care. Today and every day, my Administration continues our efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. On this anniversary, we recommit ourselves to supporting women and families in the choices they make and redouble our efforts to promote safe and healthy communities.”
You can read the President’s statement here.