Jack White has joined a new government council aimed at promoting gender equity in his adopted hometown of Nashville, Tenn. During a press conference to announce the formation of this council, he also delivered a speech challenging America's largest companies to treat their employees better.

During his speech – which you can read in full below – White spelled out several of the progressive compensation policies in place at his own company, Third Man Records, including a $15 minimum wage "regardless of gender," full health care, six months paid maternity leave and three months paid paternity leave. He went on to say, "I encourage small businesses to do the same, it is possible. You won't go broke. A person shouldn’t need two jobs just to have food and shelter. And if small businesses like mine can do this, billion dollar businesses like Walmart can do it as well."

White's speech also included a plea for equality: "Labels of gender and sexuality are completely up to the individual and not the people who employ them, or the government. If a person is born into a different scenario or a different type of physical body, they shouldn’t be treated in any degrading fashion. If they choose to represent themselves as transgender or gender neutral even, it should not [affect] their wages or benefits or how they are treated by other human beings."

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