Although society has tried to take steps to confront gender disparities, women remain underrepresented across various sectors. Title IX in 1972 granted every American student the right to education without gender discrimination. However, female students still bear the brunt of sex-segregated programs and gender-based violence, two major obstacles to educational equality. Women consistently earn less than their male counterparts. The wage gap is larger for most women of color, and gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace perpetuate economic divides. More women work today than ever before, but they face barriers to leadership roles, such as stereotypes about their performance abilities, uneven demands of motherhood compared to male partners, and the reality that many workplaces prefer and reward masculine leadership styles. Health needs are substantially greater for older women compared to older men, but women reported fewer visits with a physician and lesser likelihood to stay in a hospital.
To address gender-based inequalities in domestic and foreign policy development and implementation, President Joe Biden established the White House Gender Policy Council in an executive order on March 8, 2021.
Within 200 days of the order, Biden said, the Council will present him with a government-wide strategy for advancing gender equity and equality. In addition, the Council will:
- Recognize the gender and racial disparities magnified by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
- Work across executive departments and agencies to address issues with a distinct relationship to gender.
- Ensure all agency operations are conducted in a manner that promotes gender equity and equality.
- Provide legislative and policy recommendations to the president.
- Evaluate other proposed policies and legislation for potential inequalities.
- Propose improvements to the collection of gender-related data.
- Conduct outreach and consider ways to increase coordination and engagement with diverse representatives from nonprofit and community-based organizations.
“Advancing gender equity and equality is a matter of human rights, justice, and fairness. It is also a strategic imperative that reduces poverty and promotes economic growth, increases access to education, improves health outcomes, advances political stability, and fosters democracy,” Biden said. “The full participation of all people—including women and girls—across all aspects of our society is essential to the economic well-being, health, and security of our nation and of the world.”
Gender inequality is a social determinant of health and may have implications for women’s risk of developing cancer. Advocacy ensures that all patients, no matter their gender, race, or financial situation, have access to quality care and providers they can feel comfortable confiding in. ONS advocates on behalf of all patients and providers to support respect, recognition, access to education, safe working environments, and fair reimbursement. Get involved in ONS advocacy efforts to promote policy reform that ensures equitable health care and wages for all.