How Could Biden Enhance Effectiveness of New Gender Policy Council?

A call to action has been issued by the Center for American Progress to the White House Gender Policy Council.

The Center for American Progress put out a report that includes several strong and worthwhile suggestions for the Biden administration. The goal of the report is focused on how the current administration can advance gender equality on both U.S soil and abroad. 

Image Credit: Lindsay Lamont on Unsplash

The crux of the report is focused on the White House Gender Policy council and how it can expand the pre-existing Women, Peace and Security Act (WPS) of 2017. 

WPS has actually existed since 2000, starting after being recognized by the U.N Security Council. Since the implementation of WPS in the United States, a requirement is in place that every four years specific governmental departments and agencies must incorporate WPS  into their work. Further, they are required to host WPS-specific training for personnel, to track the progress of implementation, and to report to Congress on this progress. 

Major suggestions made in the report for both the U.S and abroad

Specific recommendations made in the report include the reorientation of how WPS is integrated. For instance, they suggest tracking and publishing reports on metrics related to women’s participation in government, gender and racial wage gaps, sexual harassment and assault in agency and the progress of implementing WPS. 

The goal is for these metrics and the report of them to influence lawmakers, civil society and partner nations to utilize similar tools to measure progress within their own communities. 

Moreover, the report recommends further expansion of WPS, with the goal of integrating WPS into legislation and policies, particularly executive orders and memorandums designed to promote diversity, inclusion and equity in the federal workforce. 

Another major recommendation laid out in the report involves funding. Agencies and departments that implement WPS should include a specific allocation for it in their budget. By extension, this also includes the suggestion that Congress provide WPS-specific funding to these departments and agencies. 

Integrating gender discussions and considerations into foreign policy-making is also emphasized in the report. Specifically, this would include requiring representatives and co-chairs to connect with subject matter experts to collaborate on the national security strategies they are leading. The report also recommends consulting with gender experts for National Security Council meetings, regardless of whether or not they directly relate to WPS.

Senior leaders of all genders are also mandated to be briefed on how gender relates to any topic that they are set to be discussing with Congress. Further, the individuals who represent cabinet members in council meetings must provide at least two briefings annually to discuss how their department or agencies are working to improve gender equality. 

Report: More Gender Lens Analysis and Action Needed

The final major suggestion is one that seems relatively straight-forward, considering the intention behind the creation of the Gender Policy Council: gender lens analysis and action. 

The report stresses that a gender lens should be considered in all decision-making. This includes a gender analysis for all decision memos and action memos going to the President and cabinet secretaries. 

Further, the report recommends that the national intelligence officer for gender equality make a special note of gender considerations in information collection. National security personnel should also receive training on how to enact a gender analysis and relate the findings. 

This report is specifically targeted toward the Gender Policy Council Biden created because it is the government body best fit for the job. As gender equality advocates and funders, we hope that the Gender Policy Council sees this report and takes the suggestions seriously. Efforts ensuring legislative attention to gender equality are vital to achieving rights for women and other marginalized groups on social, political and economic levels. 

As of this publication, the Gender Policy Council and President Biden have not responded to the pointed report.


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Author: Kimberly Pike

Kimberly Pike is a writer, artist and self proclaimed cat lady living in Rhode Island. She is passionately writing about women's issues and helping to teach others about it.

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