Biden targets gender inequality in latest executive orders

US President Joe Biden gestures while congratulating the NASA JPL Perseverance team on the successful Mars landing inside the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington US

US President Joe Biden has announced the establishment of a White House council to coordinate government efforts to advance women's rights and gender equality.

Biden has made women's issues a priority, handing top White House jobs and staff positions to women and starting a Gender Policy Council, based in the White House and charged with ensuring that all agencies and departments consider women's issues when developing policy.

The second order will reverse polices on college campus sexual assault and harassment that were issued past year by Trump's education secretary Betsy DeVos.

The move could be the start of the Biden administration's attempt at replacing the rules with its own, according to the Post.

Although the order sets the stage for a major policy shift, change is unlikely to come quickly.

Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, said Biden's announcement was welcome but changes very little immediately. "In the meantime, the Trump regulations will remain in place", Hartle said.

In February, the Department of Justice and plaintiffs in Philadelphia v. Devos, in which 18 states and the District of Columbia sued over the law, asked for a temporary suspension of their case "to allow incoming department leadership to review the underlying rule at issue". They argued that it "turns back the clock and erodes hard-fought protections and rights for victims with a "boys will be boys" approach".

Part of the solution will likely include greater flexibility for schools as they respond to complaints, said Josh Richards, a lawyer who advises universities on Title IX issues. "We know the Biden administration is looking at this issue, but there's no time to wait when children are at risk today". "So that's what I've been obsessed with, getting everybody settled and calm", she said on "The Kelly Clarkson Show".

A rollback of the existing regulation would be a blow to DeVos, who saw it as one of her signature achievements. Multiple lawsuits have been filed asking federal courts to strike down the policy, including a new suit filed Monday by a group of high school students in California.

The Obama administration had a White House Council on Women and Girls. The planned council will address a range of problems, including fighting discrimination, gender-based violence, and improving economic conditions for women, especially during the pandemic.

Biden, as vice president, along with then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2011 laid out the legal guidance of what was expected of college campuses in response to allegations of sexual violence on behalf of President Barack Obama's administration.

Harris called them both "the best of the best" and noted the short time that women have been able to officially hold combat roles.

"Simply put our world does not work for women as it should", Harris said.

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