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Biden White House debuts the U.S.’s first national gender strategy

October 22, 2021, 10:00 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Everly Health makes an acquisition, Katie Couric “goes there” in her memoir, and the White House introduces the country’s first national gender strategy. Have a great weekend.

– Strategic planning. This morning the White House is breaking some news. For the first time, a U.S. presidential administration is putting forward a national strategy on gender equity and equality.

What does that mean, exactly? Included in the new strategy are priorities we’ve heard about before from the Biden-Harris administration: economic security for women; women’s health, including abortion rights; ending gender-based violence; and more. But adopting a cohesive strategy “mark[s] for ourselves and for the world that this is going to be a priority in the years to come,” White House Gender Policy Council cochair Jen Klein tells Fortune.

The strategy is both domestic and global, outlining priorities to support women’s rights in the U.S. and abroad. It takes a cue from Scandinavian countries’ national policies on gender equity as well as Canada’s longtime national gender strategy.

On a practical level, there are some steps the federal government will be required to take to help meet these big-picture goals. Within the next nine months, every federal agency will be required to “establish and prioritize” at least three goals that align with the strategy’s 10 stated priorities and come up with a plan to achieve them. Agencies much achieve at least one with only the resources they currently have available.

The Biden administration calls the strategy a “whole of government approach.” We’ve already seen at least one example of what that looks like. The Biden administration’s response to SB8, the six-week abortion ban in Texas, drew on many of the principles and processes outlined in this strategy, although the response took place before the gender strategy’s public release. The whole of government approach, in that case, meant directing the Justice Department to take legal action; increasing funding for clinics outside the state that are seeing an influx of patients; and clarifying regulations for providers in Texas. “It was a microcosm of the way we approach the work,” says Klein.

This gender strategy, however, is meant to be a long-term, wide-ranging plan, not just a method of rapid response to state legislation. “This moment demands a bold and united response—a commitment to do more than just rebuild to a status quo that wasn’t working for women and girls, but rather to build back better,” President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris wrote in a letter introducing the strategy.

Emma Hinchliffe
emma.hinchliffe@fortune.com
@_emmahinchliffe

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

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PARTING WORDS

"Love means also understanding what’s wrong and committing to pointing that out and trying to change those things that are wrong. And that’s how I feel about the South."

-Ashley M. Jones, Alabama's new poet laureate

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