Tchen previously served as the executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls during her time at the White House

By Melody Chiu
March 06, 2018 06:45 PM
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The Recording Academy is taking a positive step to ensure female artists are represented in the music industry.

Michelle Obama‘s former chief of staff Tina Tchen has been hired to chair a task force that will be dedicated to examining “issues of inclusion and diversity within the Academy and the broader music community,” according to a press release.

The task force will “identify the various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies,” continues the statement.

Tchen currently heads a Chicago law firm that advises companies on gender inequity, sexual harassment and lack of diversity. She helped spearhead the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal support to sexual harassment, assault and abuse victims in the workplace.

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Tina Tchen
| Credit: Charles Dharapak/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“The music industry faces numerous challenges — from combatting long-held biases to making sure women are represented and respected within the community,” says Tchen, who served as the executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls during her time at the White House. “This task force is an important initial step by the Recording Academy to demonstrate its commitment to tackling these challenges in a comprehensive way.”

To donate to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which will provide subsidized legal support to women and men in all industries who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace, visit its GoFundMe page. Learn more about Time’s Up, an organization of women in entertainment combating sexual harassment and inequality, on its website.

Last month, president and CEO of the Academy Neil Portnow announced plans for a task force after he received backlash for saying “women need to step up” in the music industry.

“After hearing from many friends and colleagues, I understand the hurt that my poor choice of words following last Sunday’s GRAMMY telecast has caused,” Portnow said in a statement previously obtained by PEOPLE following the #GrammysSoMale controversy. “I also now realize that it’s about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I’d like to help make that right.”

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Portnow is publicly supporting Tchen’s appointment and says in a statement that she is “an accomplished advocate for women and impact-oriented leader versed in convening disparate stakeholders for a common purpose.”

He adds: “In addition, the fact that she lacks business ties to the music industry ensures her objectivity as Chair. We are honored to have her at the helm, guiding the Academy and our industry toward a greater good for everyone involved.”