U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an executive order creating a White House Council on Women and Girls, designed to ensure that federal agencies pay attention to the way their policies impact women and families.

Mr. Obama signed the order Wednesday, saying he wants to make clear that areas like equal pay, family leave and child care are not just women's issues but that they are family and economic issues.

A statement from the White House says the council will work on improving women's economic security, evaluating and developing public policy that is family-friendly, finding new ways to prevent violence against women, and improving women's health care.

Mr. Obama noted that while women and girls make up half the nation's population, women make up only 17 percent of the members of the U.S. Congress and three percent of the heads of the top 500 corporations in the United States.

First lady Michelle Obama and vice presidential spouse Jill Biden attended the event.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.