President Joe Biden is requesting $2.6 billion to fund gender equity programs across the globe.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, reported The Hill, to commemorate International Women’s Day.
The $2.6 billion will be part of the Biden administration’s 2023 congressional budget request and, if approved, will double the amount requested for gender equity programs last year.
In a prepared statement, Biden said, “On this day and every day, let us recognize that all of us have a better future when women and girls can reach their full potential – and together, let’s renew our efforts to advance dignity, equality, and limitless possibilities for all.”
Biden affirmed that International Women’s Day recognizes the achievements of women and girls and celebrates progress in gender equity. The president also recommitted himself and his administration to work that he says still needs to be done to achieve gender equity.
He said, “Ensuring that every woman and girl has that chance isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also a strategic imperative that advances the prosperity, stability, and security of our nation and the world. Yet too often, in too many places, women and girls face obstacles that limit their possibilities and undermine their participation in economic, political, and social life.”
Biden stated that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many existing issues that women face on a regular basis. He suggested that women’s participation in the work force declined, that additional burden was placed upon caregivers, and that gender-based violence increased.
The president’s announcement marks the one-year anniversary of the administration debuting the White House Gender Policy Council.
The White House announced the $2.6 billion over a livestreamed video conference to commemorate International Women’s Day, U.S. News reported.
The conference featured Secretary of State Antony Blinken, acting budget director Shalanda Young, U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Samantha Power, and the director of the Gender Policy Council, Jen Klein.
First lady Jill Biden, who was also present, marked International Women’s Day by making a video tribute to women throughout the world “who courageously use their voice, no matter the cost.”
She said, “To our sisters from Ukraine who are fighting to keep their country free and their families alive: We stand with you in solidarity. To our sister in Russia who are protesting and speaking out against the invasion at great personal risk: We see your courage.”
“And to women warriors around the world, those fighting for justice and working for a change: Thank you for building a better future for all of us,” the first lady added.