The Biden Administration recently released a national gender equity and equality strategy to “advance the full participation of all people.” Generally, the White House believes that advancing gender equity and equality is fundamental to every individual’s:
- economic security,
- health, and
- ability to exercise their most basic rights.
Accordingly, the White House Gender Policy Council developed the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality (Strategy). Overall, the Strategy creates a vision and agenda to advance gender equity and equality in domestic and foreign policy. Earlier, in September 2021, the Biden Administration’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force released new federal workforce COVID guidance.
Overview of the Gender Equity and Equality Strategy
Generally, the October 22 Strategy identifies ten “interconnected” priorities:
- economic security;
- gender-based violence;
- justice and immigration;
- human rights and equality under the law;
- security and humanitarian relief;
- climate change;
- science and technology; and
- democracy, participation, and leadership.
Markedly, the White House Gender Policy Council stated that the priorities are “inherently linked.” Correspondingly, the Strategy needs to apply to all priorities at the same time.
Additionally, the Strategy lists its four main “strategic” priorities. In brief, those fundamental ideals include:
- Improving economic security;
- Preventing and responding to gender-based violence;
- Increasing access to health care; and
- Advancing democracy, rights, and full participation.
In conclusion, there are specific action items within the Strategy that will affect workplaces across the nation. For example, under the priority of “Improving economic security,” the Strategy states the following:
To build [the economy] back better, the federal government will:
- Ensure that people have equal access to good jobs, including by addressing persistent gender discrimination and systemic barriers to full workforce participation.
- Invest in care infrastructure and care workers to help rebuild the economy and lower costs for working families.
In time, employers should expect future laws, guidance, and audits reflecting the new National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. Although not stated explicitly at the time of this post’s publication, businesses violating employment laws can face penalties and lawsuits. The fine amounts will most likely appear in the future, along with any new rules or guidance.