White House Reveals Nation’s First Gender Equity Strategy, Aiming to Close the Pay Gap and Increase Abortion Access

Originally Posted By The 19

The White House Gender Policy Council has released the nation’s first strategy to achieve gender equality, a multi-part approach that focuses on economic security, access to abortion, and voting rights with a focus on ensuring that people from marginalized groups have priority.

The strategy, posted on friday, is the culmination of the council’s work, which was established through executive order shortly after President Joe Biden took office. It was designed to help guide the way that domestic and foreign policy that directly affects women, girls, and LGBTQ + people is shaped across the administration. At the core of the plan is a focus on intersectionality and addressing specific systemic barriers for people of color and people with gender diversity.

The Gender Policy Council plans to prepare an annual report to the president that will track the administration’s progress in meeting the goals outlined in the strategy. The Office of Management and Budget will lead the implementation.

As part of the strategy, each government agency will be required to establish and prioritize at least three goals designed to advance some element of the plan, including a goal that can be set immediately using current resources, and create a plan on how to implement them. . The agency’s implementation plans must be completed in nine months.

That work will come with long-awaited reforms to cross-agency data collection to better capture more granular data on gender and sexual orientation, as well as stratify multiple factors, such as ethnicity and gender identity. The lack of data on the groups at the intersections (black trans women, Native American women, and non-binary Americans, for example) has limited the ability to create specific policy solutions. The Administration’s Fair Data Task Force, created through an executive order earlier in the year, will work with agencies to address blind spots in federal data and support more frequent data collection.

In all, it’s an “aspirational vision,” said the council, outlined in a 42-page report that touches on 10 key areas: improving economic security; reduce gender violence; increase access to health care; improve educational level; increase gender equity in the justice and immigration systems; promote human rights in the legal system; ensuring gender equality is part of security and humanitarian relief; respond to climate change with a gender perspective; closing gender gaps in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and promoting the participation of women in democracy and in leadership positions.

“It really recognizes that priorities are intrinsically linked and need to be addressed together,” Jennifer Klein, co-chair and CEO of the White House Gender Policy Council, told The 19th ahead of the report’s release.

Beyond politics, the council also noted that the work to be done on gender equality, a goal that has not been achieved by any country in the world, although the United States can be said to lag behind its competitors on many key metrics. , requires a “change in social and cultural norms that threaten gender equity and equality, underestimate traditional work and disproportionately performed by women and prevent rights on paper from being fully implemented in practice.”

Therefore, the report should be treated as a road map, the council said, for national and international politics.

“Only a handful of other nations have created national gender strategies. I hope its publication demonstrates our own leadership, America’s leadership, on gender equity and equality, and also, I hope, will have a catalytic effect on the world stage, ”said Klein.

Establishing economic security for women is a cornerstone of the plan, particularly during a pandemic that has erased the gains made by women in the workforce before 2020. Pay inequality and a significant concentration of women in low-wage jobs with few benefits have led to an uneven recovery after the worst of the economic consequences of the onset of the pandemic, which unleashed the first women’s recession.

In September, the most recent month for which data is available, more than 300,000 women left the workforce – the biggest drop of a month in a year. This happened even when the country is considered to be in a “recovery”.

The council’s strategy promotes policies that close the gender pay gap, in which women earn 83 cents for every dollar earned by white men. Compared to $ 1 for white men, black women earn 64 cents, Latinas win 57 cents, Native American women win 60 cents and asian women win 85 centsAlthough that figure obscures the reality that the gap is much wider for women of all ethnicities.

The Gender Policy Council supports legislation that closes loopholes in wage discrimination laws, as well as loopholes in housing laws for pregnant people in the workplace.

Some of the elements of the economic plan are already in process under a package being negotiated in Congresss that it could increase the salary of caregivers, 95 percent of whom are women; reduce the cost of child care for parents; and establish the first paid vacation policy in the country. The United States is one of the only industrialized nations that does not have a federal licensing policy.

As part of the strategy, the federal government will also update its policies on sexual harassment in the federal workforce and the military.

To more specifically address gender-based violence, the council plans to establish the country’s first action plan designed to examine the root causes of gender-based violence and areas where services for survivors can be improved. Specifically, it hopes to address violence against black transgender women, who account for 66 percent of all victims of fatal violence against trans and non-binary people.

The council’s strategy also specifically calls for expanding access to abortion as a key tenet of its plan, coming at a time when the nation has spent the most anti-abortion restrictions than any recorded year, and when laws like the almost ban of the proceedings in Texas threaten to undo Roe v. Wade.

“We will use all available levers to protect these rights, and we will work to codify the constitutional rights recognized in Roe v. Wade for nearly half a century,” the council wrote, including removing the Hyde amendment of the federal budget, which prohibits federal funds from covering abortion services for people enrolled in federally funded insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. The Hyde Amendment was excluded from the president’s budget this year, and a budget bill proposed by Senator Patty Murray, who faces opposition in both houses of Congress, also bypasses Hyde.

Another key part of the White House strategy, according to the report, is ensuring that people of all genders are represented in leadership positions and have fair access to voting and other means of civic engagement. Since the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, several states have taken steps to implement voter identification laws and other restrictions that can be disproportionately burdensome for women, people of color, and people of color. low income. In recent weeks, the White House has come under pressure to push harder for voting rights legislation that has been blocked by Senate Republicans. When it comes to promoting the leadership of women and LGBTQ + people, the Biden administration is one of the most diverse in the country’s history and includes a number of historic firsts.

The administration will seek opportunities in addition to legislation, through executive action and within the powers of federal agencies, to advance its gender equity goals. As part of developing the gender strategy, the council consulted not only with members of Congress and federal advisers, but also with community organizations, unions, and others. The team conducted 11 listening sessions with 270 girls, young women, transgender and other gender diverse individuals across the country to understand and identify key priorities for them. The council said it will continue to work with these groups and community leaders as it moves forward to implement its plan.

“He will make sure that we take this document, which is a very broad and very ambitious vision, and bring it to the work that lies ahead,” said Klein. “And then, what is really important, take responsibility and measure if we have lived up to the vision of the strategy.”

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