On Friday, October 22nd, the Biden-Harris administration released the very first national strategy that seeks to expand and advance gender equity and equality around the world. The strategy, established by the White House Gender Policy Council, outlines an ambitious and visionary framework to “advance gender equity and equality in domestic and foreign policy—and demonstrates that families, communities, and nations around the world stand to benefit.”
The administration’s National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality advances a whole of government approach that focuses on ten key intersecting priorities, including economic security, gender-based violence, security and humanitarian relief, and climate change.
The health priority in the new strategy plainly references the need for expanded access to sexual and reproductive health care that is interference-free, high-quality, and affordable—including the right to safe and legal abortion as dictated by Roe v. Wade. Globally the strategy commits to end the Global Gag Rule, support the United Nations Population Fund, and to restore U.S. leadership on sexual and reproductive rights and comprehensive sexuality education in international convenings. Another strategic priority of the national strategy both globally and domestically includes addressing and preventing gender-based violence, rates of which have been steadily rising during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring comprehensive services are available including in disaster and humanitarian work globally.
Additionally, the strategy implements an intersectional approach, stressing the importance of considering unique barriers to sexual and reproductive healthcare access, including discrimination and bias disproportionately experienced by Black, Latinx, Indigenous and Native American people, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and other communities of color.
The release of the administration’s National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality comes amid multiple attacks to sexual and reproductive health and rights, including Texas’s banning of abortion care at six weeks. The strategy also comes ahead of the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear a Mississippi case on December 1st that will prove a direct challenge to constitutionally-protected abortion.
In regard to the recently released National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, Population Institute’s President and CEO Kathleen Mogelgaard said: “We are excited by the release of the first ever ‘National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.’ Women and girls do not live their lives in silos and this strategy tackles many interconnected areas that are key to their safe and healthy future. We are committed to working with the administration to make this vision a reality.”