The month of March is an opportunity for all of us in government to reflect on what we are doing to provide opportunities to the next generation of women and girls. In 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order to create the White House Council on Women and Girls, and the U.S. General Services Administration has supported the Council’s efforts through our mission and our work with our agency partners. I am proud that GSA has a role in the Council’s work, and that Julia Hudson, Regional Administrator for the National Capital Region, serves as our representative.
GSA partners with the private-sector to provide federal agencies the tools they need to serve the American people. Through these partnerships we are working with women entrepreneurs across the country and providing them with important opportunities to compete and grow their businesses in the Federal marketplace. In the past two years GSA has exceeded its goals for contracts awarded to women-owned small business and more than $500 million was awarded to these companies. The federal government provides an important and stable business partner for these businesses, and they provide the government with important value and services. Without their innovation and hard work, we would not be able to conduct day-to-day functions such as responding to emergencies, caring for veterans, and preserving our National Parks.
As an employer, GSA relies on the talent women bring the workforce. Women are in core leadership positions within the agency making up nearly half of senior executives and leadership positions. Many of these positions include roles such as technology and finance.
GSA is also committed to supporting working women and families throughout the country by providing space for more than 100 childcare centers at Federal workplaces nationwide. These centers provide women in the workforce and those re-entering the workforce access to high quality care options for their children. GSA child care centers also participate in the First Lady’s Let’s Move Child Care program, which focuses on the importance of nutritious meals and fun physical activities to ensure the next generation starts off healthy and strong.
In addition, our telework efforts reflect our commitment to enhancing work-life balance for all of GSA employees. The ability to work from home affords employees an opportunity to better manage the demands of work and family obligations in a flexible manner. GSA was one the federal government’s Telework pioneers, and 80 percent of our employees are able to telework.
Through this initiative, agencies throughout the Federal Government have redoubled their commitments to initiatives that support equality. Extending opportunities to women is a top priority for GSA. As a father of two teenage girls, I particularly understand the importance of this responsibility. An equal, open marketplace is not only the right thing to do, but also creates the very best value for the American people. During the month of March and beyond, GSA will continue to do our part to ensure women have access to the resources and support that they need to excel and prosper.