Women’s Day: Biden creates gender policy council, names two women generals to lead military commands

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Mar 09, 2021, 01:32 PM(IST)

US President Joe Biden (C) speaks, flanked by the nominees to positions as 4-star Combatant Commanders General Jacqueline Van Ovost (L) and Lieutenant General Laura Richardson (R), during International Women's Day in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 8, 2021. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

US President Biden announced the nomination of two women to lead US military commands, who will be only the second and third women to hold such senior military positions in the United States.

The White House marked International Women's Day with an executive order to create a gender policy council. It comes at a time when women are disproportionately suffering from the pandemic's economic fallout.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order establishing a White House Gender Policy Council to advance gender equity and address the challenges for women who have borne the brunt of the pandemic downturn. 

Biden administration also marked the occasion with the historic selection of two women to key military command posts.

US President Biden announced the nomination of two women to lead US military commands, who will be only the second and third women to hold such senior military positions in the United States.

US Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost, the only woman to have reached the rank of four-star general, the military's highest, was nominated to head Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM).

Three-star army general Laura Richardson was nominated to lead Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which covers Central and Latin America. She will also receive her fourth star.

If the Senate confirms their nominations, then Van Ovost and Richardson will follow Lori Robinson, who was the first woman to helm a military command. She led Northern Command (NORTHCOM) before retiring in 2018.

On International Women's Day, top US officials acknowledged the disproportionate economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, where women have accounted for more than half of all workers who have been pushed out of the labour market.

"The pandemic has exacerbated barriers that have historically impacted women and girls," said Julissa Reynosa, co-chair of the Gender Policy Council. 

“Today, the global crises we now face have made abundantly clear both the contributions of women and the challenges facing women,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in remarks to the European Parliament. “If we build a world that works for women, our nations will all be safer, stronger and more prosperous.”

The council’s mandate is to work across the federal governments’ domestic and foreign policy to fight discrimination and bias, boost economic security, increase access to health care, and advance general equality through diplomacy, trade and defence.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App