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A R T I C L E S* &* S P E E C H E S

The President's Interagency Council on Women: Building a National Action Agenda Beyond Beijing

By Kathleen Hendrix, State Department Representative to the Council

On the eve of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, President Clinton declared:

"The (Women's) conference is going to talk about education and domestic violence and grass roots economics, employment, health care, political participation...and we don't intend to walk away from it when it's over. I'm going to...make sure that all the effort and good ideas actually get implemented when we get back home."

As a follow-up to the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, President Clinton established the Interagency Council on Women chaired by Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton serves as honorary chair. This governmental body, composed of high level representatives from each federal agency, is charged with policy development and public outreach to implement the Platform for Action adopted at Beijing, including the U.S. commitments announced at the conference. (See WOMANSWORD, Vol.1, January, 1996, p. 3.) The Council holds monthly public meetings to discuss its work. For information on these meetings, call (202) 663-3070 for a recorded message.

Council members have been working with their individual agencies to analyze the Platform for Action as it relates to them, with an eye toward identifying possible initiatives to take. Council members have been engaged in outreach activities across the country, attending conferences and meetings, participating on panels and addressing gatherings. Many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have been in contact with the Council regarding their follow-up activities and the commitments they are making. They are also communicating to the Council actions they would like the government to endorse.

The President's Council is sponsoring a national conference via satellite one year after the U.N. Women's Conference on Saturday, September 28, 1996. On this day, Americans will join together in community conferences across the country to report on progress made since the U.N. Conference, share what's working in communities and look ahead to develop a national agenda for action to improve the lives of American women and their families.

The Council on Women will be developing a National Action Agenda, a blueprint to move the United States toward the goal of equality by the year 2000, and a companion report containing descriptions of successful actions that communities are taking. During the summer, the Council will be seeking input for this project via its homepage on the internet.

For further information, contact:

Theresa Loar, Kathy Herdrix or Lycia Sibilla
President's Interagency Council on Women
Telephone: (202) 456-7350
Fax: (202) 456-7357





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