The Council on Women and Girls
The Council on Women and Girls has a new website. It provides a list of council members, as well as the Council’s mission, which is to “ensure that each of the agencies in which they’re charged takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create, the legislation they support.”
Since women and girls make up more than half of the United States population, government agencies should definitely take us into account. If agencies are not even considering half the population in their routine work, they should start today.
Separate councils for different demographic groups are not the way to go, however, for several reasons. First, they imply that all members of the designated group are affected by regulations and other government actions in the same way, which is not the case. The Council on Women and Girls lists several bills that would purportedly help women, without providing any counterarguments or suggesting that any women might disagree.
Second, these councils lead to a proliferation of boards and committees, with the potential to burden all levels of government. There are women’s councils at the state level, too; here’s the one in Missouri. What’s next? A women’s council in every county and township? (Local governments also need to take women into account.) It’s unfair to have councils for only certain sexes, age groups, and ethnic groups, but it’s also impossible to create new councils for all the groups that don’t have them.
And, finally, councils take pressure off of government agencies. When regulations turn out to be harmful to segments of the population, regulators can say, “That wasn’t our responsibility. The council was supposed to investigate how it would affect that group.”