Biden, Harris announce formation of White House Gender Policy Council

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President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Tuesday announced the formation of a White House Gender Policy Council, an effort they said will be aimed at advancing the country toward gender equality as their administration works to build the “nation back better.”

The Biden-Harris transition team said in the announcement that the council will be co-chaired by Jennifer Klein, chief strategy and policy officer at TIME’S UP, and Julissa Reynoso, the incoming assistant to the president and chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden who also previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Uruguay under former President Obama. 

The transition team said the council will help guide and “coordinate government policy that impacts women and girls” across a variety of issues, including racial justice and economic security, and work in cooperation with other White House policy councils.

“Too many women are struggling to make ends meet and support their families, and too many are lying awake at night worried about their children’s economic future,” the president-elect said in the announcement. “This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the current global public health crisis has made these burdens infinitely heavier for women all over this country.” 

“The work of this council is going to be critical to ensuring we build our nation back better by getting closer to equality for women and to the full inclusion of women in our economy and our society,” he added.

“All Americans deserve a fair shot to get ahead, including women whose voices have not always been heard,” Harris said. The vice president-elect said the incoming administration will work to “pursue a comprehensive plan to open up opportunity and uphold the rights of women in our nation and around the world.”

“I look forward to working with these deeply knowledgeable and experienced public servants to address the challenges facing women and girls, and build a nation that is more equal and just,” Harris also said.

Former national security adviser Susan Rice, who is also the incoming director of the Domestic Policy Council, one of a number of councils the newly-formed council on gender policy will be working with, said the new effort “will be key in marshaling every part of our government and working directly with communities to ensure all women and girls are entitled to equal rights and opportunities.”

“From health care, the economy, education, and national security — every issue is a women’s issue,” she added in a statement. 

The announcement comes after a new analysis released by the National Women’s Law Center showed how women, especially those of color, were being disproportionately hit in the job market amid the ongoing pandemic.

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