Women Take a Front Seat in the Biden Administration
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, women have lost their jobs disproportionately to men by an increased margin of 1.8X. The virus has forced them into the home as children need both mother and teacher during at-home-learning. Despite these statistics, the Biden administration has seen the opposite trend, as countless women have been lifted into the highest responsibilities of the land, especially BAME women. Records have been set and history has been made but one thing is certain, women are now in charge. Of course, this is what equality should have always looked like in the United States government, the Biden administration is just the first to deliver such necessary inclusion for women in high places at the White House.
When American President Joseph R. Biden won office in November 2020, Kamala Harris became the first BAME and female to ever hold the coveted Vice Presidential title and Biden has made it clear her role will look more like an equal partnership. This feat was historical and exceptional in the States in its own right, however, in the first months of the Biden/Harris administration women slowly took over the White House, making 2021 look progressively more like a women’s world.
Early on in this administration notable roles in cabinet and cabinet level positions were given to a record setting 12 women and 8 of those women were Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME). Biden noted in an address to the nation that he elevated these highly qualified women to positions of power because the government and administrations should “Look like America’.
Joining Harris in history is Janet Yellen, who is the first female to become US Treasury Secretary since it’s conception 232 years ago. Her nomination was recently confirmed by the Senate in January. Cecilia Rouse is the first black leader of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Janelle Jones, the first black woman in the role of Chief Economist at the Department of Labor. Deb Haaland, recently confirmed as the first Native American and female Interior Secretary and first-ever indigenous cabinet member. Avril Haines was appointed as Director of National Intelligence and was the first woman as deputy director of the CIA and served as principal deputy national security advisor to President Obama.
Among the important women in Biden’s administration is Rochelle P. Walensky, sitting as the Director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To appoint a woman into leadership over disease control during the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the United States struggled on after the Trump administration, was a commendable show that women are undoubtedly in the driver’s seat of this administration in a significant and relevant way.
Jen Psaki serves as Press Secretary, Marcia Fudge is the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Jennifer Granholm is the head of the Department of Energy, Isabel Guzman is the head of the Small Business Administration, Gina Raimondo is the Deputy of Commerce, Katherine Thai is the US Trade Representative, Neera Tanden is the Office of Management and Budget, Linda Thomas-Greenfield is the US Ambassador to the United Nations and the list is even more vast and ongoing than that.
Last week on International Women’s Day, President Biden nominated Air Force General Jaqueline Van Ovost to lead the U.S. Transportation Command and Army Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson to lead the U.S. Southern Command. This is only the second and third time a woman has been nominated to the 4-star combat command, occurring once in the Army and once in the Navy. In his Women’s Day address, he noted that “It’s hard to be what you cannot see”, reiterating once again that women should be front and centre in positions of power to encourage inclusivity and equality for all.
Even more recently on March 17th, the House voted to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that Biden originally wrote into law in 1994. The new version seeks legal protections for abuse victims and their families, prevention plans for sex trafficking, more gun restrictions and housing for minority communities effected by violence against women. VAWA will likely pass in the Senate as it is a largely bipartisan effort.
Biden is still within the first 100 days of his presidency and has already made history with his Vice Presidential pick, his highly qualified cabinet picks, roles and nominations. Women hold offices that are relevant to today and hold immense responsibility, especially in the time of Covid-19. Equality is in the spotlight of Biden’s presidency and his inclusionary politics has elevated women to places they were always meant to inhabit. In this administration, women have taken a front seat in the White House and women are now officially in charge, at long last.