PHI Statement on Federal Executive Order Establishing a Gender Policy Council
Statement from Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, CEO and President, Public Health Institute
The Public Health Institute applauds the Biden-Harris Administration’s formation of a White House Gender Policy Council, established through executive order today, International Women’s Day. Societies are stronger, fairer and more successful when we make sure that women and girls thrive.
Around the world and in the United States, women and girls—and especially women of color and transgender women—face disproportionate violence and barriers to full health, economic freedom, and safety. The Council’s focus on economic empowerment, education, leadership and violence prevention are proven strategies for advancing gender equity. For decades, PHI and our programs have brought more rights, equality and inclusion to millions for all women and girls around the globe—addressing health along with the underlying economic and societal factors that stand in the way of full empowerment. Our programs are increasing access to education; launching innovative leadership opportunities; increasing access to better contraception; ensuring rights for transgender women and girls; advocating for better reproductive and sexual health practices and policies; ending child marriage; advancing economic empowerment; and more.
We applaud the council’s focus to address the needs of women from underserved communities, and the gendered impacts of COVID-19. As we have seen in our own work, the pandemic is worsening gender violence and inequalities, from domestic violence, homelessness, job loss and more—with an increased burden on women from vulnerable communities. We also look forward to specific strategies from the federal government to build in greater rights, inclusion and opportunities for women and girls of color and transgender women and girls.
As Memory Banda, a girl leader from PHI’s Rise Up program who helped end child marriage in her home country of Malawi, has said: “An empowered and educated girl becomes an agent of change.”