By Marc J. Lane
As the economic security, safety, health and well-being of women and girls here and around the globe are at risk, the Biden Administration has launched a first-ever national strategy of gender equity and equality. The whole-of-government effort promises to ensure that all people are treated fairly and equitably and are afforded a real opportunity to reach their full potential.
Ten ambitious and interconnected strategic priorities have been defined:
Setting the goals, which have been articulated in granular detail, is only the first step in achieving them. And the government is clearly serious about making a real difference.
Not only does the strategy reflect rigorous input from a broad group of stakeholders; its successful implementation is understood to hinge on the White House Gender Policy Council’s continuing collaboration with individuals and organizations dedicated to the strategy’s success. The Council, composed of nearly all the members of the President’s Cabinet and other top-level officials, is committed to integrating gender across U. S. programming and policies in all executive agencies.
The agencies’ implementation plans, which will be made public by mid-year, are required to identify the gender gaps each agency aims to close; the outcome measures that are to define success; and the budgetary, staff and other needs it will take to achieve its targeted objectives. In developing their plans, the agencies are tasked with identifying and addressing gender and racial disparities, capitalizing on the skills and contributions of people of all genders, and ensuring that programs and policies will benefit those who need them without regard to gender.
The Council will also engage with Congress; state, local tribal and territorial governmental officials; a diverse range of nonprofit and community-based organizations; faith-based organizations; and foreign government officials. Moreover, it’s joining with our allies to address global gender gaps through its active participation in the United Nations General Assembly and Generation Equality Forum, the G-7, the G-20, the Summit for Democracy, and the UN Climate Change Conference, among other initiatives.
When announcing the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, President Biden and Vice President Harris observed that, "Following the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, women’s participation in the American labor force plummeted to its lowest level in over 30 years. Rates of gender-based violence have risen significantly, and racial and ethnic inequity has deepened . . . This moment demands a bold and united response . . .”
They’re right, of course. Let’s wish them well and hold them to account.
Marc Lane is an attorney and financial adviser to businesses seeking to drive positive social change. He is the author of Social Enterprise: Empowering Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs (American Bar Association), The Mission-Driven Venture: Business Solution to the World’s Most Vexing Social Problems (Wiley), and Representing Corporate Officers and Directors and LLC Managers (Wolters Kluwer), among other works. If you would like to explore how your firm’s positive social impact can be optimized, please reach out to Marc in confidence at 312-372-1040 or mlane@marcjlane.