Statement from Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s…
Statement of In Our Own Voice President & CEO Marcela Howell
WASHINGTON — Today, on International Women’s Day, President Biden issued two executive orders that take important steps toward greater equity and empowerment for women, femmes and girls. The first executive order establishes the White House Office of Gender Policy, the second executive order directs the Department of Education to review Title IX regulations, guidance and policies to ensure that students are safe from sexual violence. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell issued the following statement in support of these executive orders:
“For the last four years women, femmes and girls suffered through an administration that clearly and unashamedly disregarded and disrespected us on a consistent basis. It is refreshing to finally have a leader in the White House who understands the need to address inequities and prioritize issues that exacerbate disparities and harms to women, femmes and girls, while also recognizing that these issues do not impact all of us equally.
“Race and gender must be assessed simultaneously because both are baked into the fabric of our society, policies and practices. Black women, femmes and girls have historically had less equitable access to resources and opportunities; the impact has been devastating and endangers our health and wellbeing, and that of our households and communities.
“By establishing a Council on Gender Policy that has a prominent role in domestic and foreign policies, the Biden administration has the potential to address the systemic barriers that prevent Black women, femmes and girls from fully realizing our potential — including less access to fair wages, quality healthcare, workplace protections, equal education and career opportunities, and so much more.
“We cannot overstate the need for the Department of Education to review and assess the regulations, policies and practices specific to Title IX. One in four Black girls will experience some form of sexual assault before the age of 18. The Biden administration and Department of Education must do everything in their power to protect our young people, including rescinding the previous administration’s heartless policies, which no longer require campuses to investigate allegations of sexual violence and lessen recourse for the victims and survivors.
“By establishing the White House Council on Gender Policy and instructing the Department of Education to review Title IX provisions and protections for student victims and survivors of sexual violence, the president has committed to center the impact and implications of gender, sexuality and race in order to improve the economic security, health and safety of women, femmes and girls — and we will hold the administration to this. For this, we applaud President Biden and look forward to working with the administration to ensure that this bold vision is actualized.”
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national reproductive justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in our ongoing policy fight to secure reproductive justice for all women and girls. Strategic partners include Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc. SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center and Women With A Vision.