President Biden issued an executive order on Monday establishing the Gender Policy Council at the White House that aims to address promoting gender-based discrimination and violence throughout the federal government, as well as another order geared toward promoting gender equity, both in the United States and internationally.
The executive order establishing the new council will play roles in domestic and foreign policy development, according to the White House. Biden had previously announced plans before entering the White House to establish the Gender Policy Council. The council is meant to address a range of issues, including combatting gender bias and discrimination, increasing economic security and opportunity, addressing the needs of caregivers in the United States, improving access to healthcare, and combatting gender-based violence.
Biden in a statement commemorating International Women’s Day that his order creating the council ensures “that every domestic and foreign policy we pursue rests on a foundation of dignity and equity for women.”
The White House said the effort “will be an essential part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to ensure we build a more equal and just society — by aggressively protecting the rights and unique needs of those who experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including individuals who are Black, Latina, Native, Asian American and Pacific Islander, people with disabilities, and LGBTQI+.”
The council will be headed by Jennifer Klein and chief of staff to first lady Jill Biden, Julissa Reynoso, as well as four other staffers, including a special assistant to the president on gender-based violence and two special assistants on gender policy. The council will also focus on transgender rights and supporting care workers, predominantly women of color.
Biden said in a statement released by the White House that the world is seeing “decades of women’s economic gains erased by this pandemic.”
“These global trends damage all of us, because we know that governments, economies, and communities are stronger when they include the full participation of women – no country can recover from this pandemic if it leaves half of its population behind,” Biden said.
Biden will also sign another executive order that coincides with International Women’s Day directing the Department of Education to do a sweeping review of the Title IX regulation issued by the former President Trump to determine whether it is consistent with the policy of the Biden administration that students be “guaranteed education free from sexual violence.”
“Elevating the status of women and girls globally is the right thing to do — it is a matter of justice, fairness, and decency, and it will lead to a better, more secure, and more prosperous world for us all,” Biden said on the second Executive Order. “On International Women’s Day, let us recommit to the principle that our nation, and the world, is at its best when the possibilities for all of our women and girls are limitless.”
According to a Biden administration official, “The policy that is very clear is that all students should be guaranteed an educational environment that is free from discrimination, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The Trump administration Title IX rule was widely criticized by Democrats and those advocating for victims of sexual assault. Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos announced last year what she called historic changes to Obama-era guidelines to make the process fairer and better protect accused students to cases of sexual assault and harassment. Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign trail pledged to quickly end the Trump administration’s Title IX rule.
Biden’s Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will consider suspending, revising, or rescinding his predecessor’s actions if they are determined to be inconsistent with the Biden administration’s policies, according to an administration official.