People around the world should have the opportunity to realize their full potential. Gender shouldn’t matter. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
That’s why the Biden-Harris administration launched what it calls the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.
“By advancing the rights of women, girls, and LGBTQI+ persons in all their diversity, we will advance the collective prosperity, health, safety, and the security of our nation and the world,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said November 4. He called gender equity “a moral and strategic imperative.”
The 42-page strategy (PDF, 628KB) identifies 10 priorities that the administration says are inherently linked and must be tackled in concert. They include pledges to:
- Improve economic security, including access to education and leadership roles.
- Prevent gender-based violence and ensure women have equal access to legal and humanitarian relief systems.
- Expand access to health care, including sexual and reproductive health care.
“We are very inclusive in our definition of gender,” Jennifer Klein, co-chair and executive director of the White House Gender Policy Council, said in a March 8 White House briefing. She said the administration intends to address all sorts of discrimination and fight for equal rights for people, whether that’s LGBTQI+ people, women, girls or men.
The administration said the COVID-19 pandemic magnified the challenges that women and girls face in particular. Worldwide, and across all regions and income groups, women lost more jobs during COVID-19 than men, according to a January report from the International Labour Organization.
The U.N. reported this year that the COVID-19 outbreak also created a “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence around the world, which will be addressed and is part of the administration strategy.
Vice President Harris called the strategy a bold one “and one that this moment calls for.”
10 Biden-Harris administration priorities for equity and equality
1. Improve economic security and accelerate economic growth.
2. Eliminate gender-based violence.
3. Protect, improve and expand access to health care.
4. Ensure equal opportunity and equity in education.
5. Promote gender equity and fairness in justice and immigration systems.
6. Advance human rights and gender equality under the law.
7. Elevate gender equality in security and humanitarian relief.
8. Promote gender equity in mitigating and responding to climate change.
9. Close gender gaps in STEM fields.
10. Advance full participation in democracy, representation and leadership.