Ms Tchen and Valerie Jarrett, who was 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 ‘sex 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 at the gender person and say, ‘This isn’t. is not my problem, it is their problem ”Tchen said.
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 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 did not have a full-time leader – Ms Tchen was also director of the White House‘s Office of Public Engagement, and Ms Jarrett was Mr Obama’s senior adviser – and did not report directly to him. to the president. And he didn’t have a lot of authority to design policies himself.
“It was located in the Office of Public Engagement and therefore 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, Ms. Thompson added, the council tended to overlook foreign policy issues. Much of the activity on global gender initiatives has instead come from the State Department, under Ms. Clinton, who as Secretary of State appointed Ms. Verveer to be the country’s first ambassador for global gender issues. women.
The board was disbanded again in 2017, under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, who also vacated the role of Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues until December 2019.