STATEMENT: New Biden Executive Orders Signal the Administration’s Clear Commitment to Gender Equity and Justice

Washington, D.C. — Today, President Joe Biden will sign executive orders to establish the White House Gender Policy Council and instruct the U.S. Department of Education to review all of its current policies, regulations, and other guidance to ensure that every student has access to an education free from sexual violence. In response, Jocelyn Frye, senior fellow with the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

In the midst of a pandemic that continues to erode hard-won gains for women in employment—particularly for Black women and other women of color—and has resulted in spiking rates of gender-based violence, these executive orders from the Biden-Harris administration signal a much-needed and clear commitment to gender equity and justice.

The current headwinds American women are facing did not happen by chance. Rather, they are the direct result of systems that have consistently failed to be responsive to the daily challenges women confront as essential workers, unpaid caregivers, and family breadwinners. Too often, women are just expected to make things work, despite the lack of commonsense policies such as paid leave, the persistence of gender-based and racial discrimination, and a status quo that perpetuates inequality. That is why a true recovery from this pandemic will require making concrete structural changes that incorporate and advance gender equity principles and counter the relentless attacks on women’s rights and women’s progress in states across the country. The Gender Policy Council is uniquely equipped to help advance these efforts.

President Biden has also taken a crucial step forward to combat sexual violence in schools by instructing the U.S. Department of Education to review all of its policies and regulations to ensure that they are consistent with the administration’s commitments and to maximize protections against sex discrimination. With 1 in 5 women experiencing some form of sexual assault while in college, we hope the Education Department will move swiftly to roll back the previous administration’s Title IX changes that were designed to discourage reporting and quell investigations.

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