The First Lady of the United is the most visible and public position held by a woman in the White House. The first lady must manage the White House staff, act as the official hostess for the nation, serve as international ambassador for the nation when traveling with the president, and at times, be a surrogate for the president at ceremonial functions. In addition, she must champion pertinent, but not provocative causes, even though whatever cause she promotes has the capacity to become controversial just because she is the first lady.
The position of first lady is a full-time, seven-days-a-week job. It is not an official position. It is totally unpaid.
In a time when women all around the globe and our nation are rightly demanding equal pay for equal work, is it time to reevaluate the position of “First Lady,” making it an official position with a salary? Perhaps the “First Lady” position will finally get the respect, honor, and salary it deserves when the president is a woman and the “First Lady” is a “First Gentleman.”
Find out more about the first ladies and their jobs in our First Lady Fact Files and resources.
First Lady Fact Files
This fact database provides one-stop-shopping for details about all of America’s first ladies, including legacy information and selected quotes.
From White House Hostess to American Powerhouse: The Evolution of the First Lady’s Title and Role
The designated titles assigned to the wives of America’s presidents have changed dramatically over the years. Discover how those titles, and the role of the president’s spouse, have evolved over 200 years.