In response to the formation of a new White House Gender Policy Council, Mara Bolis, Oxfam America’s Associate Director of Women's Economic Rights issued the following statement:
“Oxfam applauds President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris’ fulfillment of their pledge to create a White House Gender Policy Council, today naming Jennifer Klein and Julissa Reynoso as co-chairs, who bring significant experience championing gender equality and leading on foreign policy. This Council will be instrumental in ensuring that policies related to the economy, health care, unpaid and underpaid care, racial justice and gender-based violence prevention integrate the needs of women and girls and gender diverse people. As COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women, particularly women of color, in job losses and spikes in caring responsibilities, this Gender Policy Council is essential to a healthy, inclusive and effective recovery for our country.
Naming co-chairs is a crucial first step for Biden and Harris’ gender policy, however in order for the Council to be effective it needs high-ranking representatives from all Department and Executive Agencies, including those responsible for US foreign policy. Among the Council’s first tasks should be to develop and adopt a US Feminist Foreign Policy that is sufficiently resourced and focuses on ensuring a foreign policy committed to credibly advancing gender equality, combatting the climate crisis, promoting human rights and advancing peace. The Council has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop an ambitious, whole-of-government, feminist approach to its plans for economic recovery and foreign policy; one that should be adopted and implemented across departments and agencies.”