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Biden signs executive orders for gender equity, women's rights

President Joe Biden seen during a speech in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/b287c1709a273f3d70a9fe6f89e7f540/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
President Joe Biden seen during a speech in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

March 8 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden signed two executive orders on Monday in recognition of International Women's Day to support gender equity and equal rights in the United States.

International Women's Day, which has been celebrated every March 8 since 2011, observes social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide.

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"Women's history is American history -- and world history. On International Women's Day, we celebrate the achievements, contributions, and progress of women and girls in the United States and around the globe," Biden said in a statement. "My administration is committed to honoring women by investing in their opportunity, security and wellbeing."

Biden's first executive order establishes the White House Gender Policy Council to ensure that the administration advances gender equity and equal rights and opportunity for women and girls.

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The second order directs the Education Department to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance and policy to guarantee education free from sexual violence, the White House said.

"A year into COVID-19, women are still contending with the public health crisis, and ensuing economic crisis, and on top of those challenges, a caregiving crisis," the White House said in a statement.

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"The pandemic has exacerbated barriers that have held back women, especially women of color, forcing many to leave the workforce, manage virtual schooling, and absorb additional caregiving responsibilities."

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The Gender Policy Council will play a role in domestic and foreign policy development and work with other policy councils to advance gender equity and equality.

The council will be led by Julissa Reynoso, chief of staff to first lady Jill Biden, and Jennifer Klein, chief strategy and policy officer for the anti-sexual harassment group Time's Up. It will also produce an annual report to document the council's progress.

Biden's second order instructs the Education Department to evaluate Title IX regulations issued under the Trump administration to ensure they are compatible with the new administration's policies.

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Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos dismantled Obama-era guidelines for sexual discrimination and harassment at federally-funded education programs.

"Elevating the status of women and girls globally is the right thing to do -- it is a matter of justice, fairness and decency and it will lead to a better, more secure and more prosperous world for us all," Biden said.

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