The White House announced $50 million in commitments to expand opportunities for women and girls on Tuesday, including efforts to address the gender pay gap and promote gender equality worldwide.
The Obama administration has partnered with a number of businesses and organizations on the new White House Equal Pay Pledge, in which companies commit to conduct an annual gender pay analysis and review hiring and promotion processes to ensure equity for women. So far, 28 companies have signed on to the pledge, including tech giants Amazon, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Spotify, as well as Deloitte, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo.
President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and First Lady Michelle Obama all participated in the White House Council on Women and Girls’ United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC on Tuesday. The event featured female activists and celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rimes, Amy Poehler, Mariska Hargitay, Connie Britton, Patricia Arquette, Kerry Washington, and Sophia Bush, who discussed issues of health and wellness, economic opportunity, civic engagement, and leadership.
The president and the various speakers touted legislation passed by the Obama administration over the past seven years, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Affordable Care Act.
“Over the past seven years we have significantly improved the lives of women and girls,” Obama said.
The Independent Women’s Forum, which released its own report of suggested policy reforms in conjunction with this year’s “Equal Pay Day,” suggested that women attending the summit take a hard look at the results of these last seven years and evaluate whether their situations have really improved or not.
“We all want to celebrate women’s achievement and to continue to break down barriers so that women can do even more,” said Managing Director Carrie Lukas. “Yet it’s time to recognize that ill-conceived government policy is often one of those barriers, and opening the doors to more success requires modernizing our laws and empowering people, not government, so we can see what all is possible.”