On March 8, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order creating a White House Gender Policy Council, and an executive order initiating a review of Title IX regulations. In support of these two actions, Elisha Rhodes, Interim CEO, YWCA USA issued the following statement:
At a time when women are speaking out and leading in our families, communities, workplaces, and political institutions, today’s executive orders represent an important step toward advancing intersectional gender equity and racial justice in this country. These orders create a process and structure at the highest levels of government to unwind harmful policies, advance equity, and open doors of opportunity for women and girls in all sectors of life.
The newly-created White House Gender Policy Council delivers on requests by YWCA and the gender equity community that the Biden/Harris Administration anchor a commitment to gender equity within the White House. The structure, staffing, and mandate of the Gender Policy Council— including the requirement to engage with nonprofit and community-based organizations— reflect a deep understanding of the interconnected economic, educational, health, gender-based violence, and caregiving issues that directly impact the lives of women and girls across the U.S. and around the globe. Similarly, the Executive Order on Title IX initiates the process for unwinding harmful regulations and implementing inclusive policies to better ensure that educational environments are free from sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity— another top priority of YWCA and the gender equity community.
“Every day at YWCA, we get up, turn on the lights, and do the work of justice. We see first-hand the difference that leadership, advocacy, and action can make for the women, girls, LGBTQ+ individuals, and marginalized communities who are at the heart of our intersectional mission and programmatic services. We will continue to move justice out of our doors and into the power structures that determine the future through our advocacy – so that the full potential for progress reflected in these Executive Orders is realized and the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.