On International Women’s Day, President Biden instituted a Gender Policy Council intended to advance gender equality. The council, which will report directly to President Biden, intends to “advance equal rights and opportunities, regardless of gender or gender identity,” according to the White House website.
The council’s co-chairs are Jennifer Klein and Julissa Reynoso. Reynoso is the chief-of-staff to first lady Jill Biden and will continue in that position in addition to her role as co-chair of the Gender Policy Council. Klein was Hillary Clinton’s senior advisor during her time as first lady and secretary of state.
Throughout the pandemic, women have continuously seen disproportionately high rates of job loss and inequality. There are a number of reasons for this, including the large number of women frontline workers and the disproportionate childcare burden placed on women during this time.
The White House acknowledges that gender and racial disparities have been “both magnified and exacerbated” by COVID-19, so the Gender Policy Council will work with the COVID-29 Response and COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force in order to alleviate some of those disparities.
Within the next 200 days, The Gender Policy Council will submit a “government-wide strategy to advance gender equity and equality”. This strategy will focus on a number of issues, including the gender pay gap, gender-based violence and systemic gender-based discrimination. The Council’s goal is to ensure that all policies implemented during Biden’s presidency align with the gender equality strategy.
To ensure this happens, “almost every cabinet secretary is required to participate with the council, signaling that the council’s work is of top priority for every federal agency and that it will touch on many issues like racial equity, national security, health care and economics,” according to the New York Times.
The implementation of this Council will hopefully ensure that women’s concerns aren’t being put on the back-burner and that these issues will be taken into consideration in all types of policy. They will also analyze existing policy with the perspective of gender equality in mind.
As the gender inequality gap continues to widen during this pandemic, many praise the Gender Policy Council as a crucial and necessary first step in promoting gender equality in the United States.
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