President Joe Biden has formally created a gender policy council within the White House as part of two executive orders he signed Monday to mark International Women’s Day.
In a statement, Biden said: "In our nation, as in all nations, women have fought for justice, shattered barriers, built and sustained economies, carried communities through times of crisis, and served with dignity and resolve. Too often, they have done so while being denied the freedom, full participation, and equal opportunity all women are due."
The council will include a staff of four, three of whom will hold the title of special assistant to the president.
The council’s mandate is to work across the federal government’s domestic and foreign policy to fight discrimination and bias, boost economic security, increase access to health care, and advance general equality through diplomacy, trade and defense.
"Today, the global crises we now face have made abundantly clear both the contributions of women and the challenges facing women," Vice President Kamala Harris said in remarks to the European Parliament. "If we build a world that works for women, our nations will all be safer, stronger and more prosperous."
The second order asks the Department of Education to re-examine the Trump administration’s policies and rule-making on Title IX, the 1972 law which governs the way sex-based discrimination in schools is handled. The goal, one of the officials said, is to ensure students have an education “free of sexual violence.”
The Trump administration also scrapped key Obama-era policies and put forward their rules which, among other items, said transgender students couldn’t use the bathroom consistent with their own gender identities. Biden’s executive order instructs the agency to make sure all policies related to Title IX are consistent with the ethos of the Biden-Harris administration, the official added.
“President Biden knows we need a government-wide focus on uplifting the rights of all women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, restoring America as a champion for gender equity,” said one of the officials.
The Obama administration had a White House Council on Women and Girls. The new gender council reflects the idea, one official said, that gender discrimination can happen to people of all genders.
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