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At 100-Day Mark, Biden-Harris Administration Gets an A- on First Feminist Foreign Policy Scorecard

Advocacy, Feminist Foreign Policy

Release Date: April 28, 2021
Article Subtitle: The Coalition for Feminist Foreign Policy Launches New Tool to Track Gender Equality Progress During Year Ahead
Media Contact: Lindsay Bigda, Communications Specialist, ICRW


A coalition of more than 80 women’s rights and civil society organizations has released a new scorecard to track U.S. progress toward launching the world’s next feminist foreign policy—awarding the Biden-Harris administration an “A-” as it completes the first 100 days of its term.

“Our review reveals that the Biden-Harris administration has taken laudable steps, in content if not in name, toward implementing a feminist foreign policy,” said Lyric Thompson, Senior Director for Policy and Advocacy at the ICRW and a Coalition leader.

“In its first 100 days, the Biden Administration has far exceeded its predecessors’ records on equal gender representation in government, and taken unprecedented steps to address feminist priorities in domestic social and economic policy,” said Heather Hurlburt, Director for New Models of Policy Change at New America. “We look forward, in the weeks and months to come, to seeing similarly transformative steps in security, foreign, development and trade policy, and we look forward to working as partners in transparency, accountability and co-creation.”

The scorecard, which grades progress against the Coalition’s recommendations to the U.S. government and signature policy paper, considers four categories in its report: policy articulation; leadership and structures; funding; and accountability.

In the areas of policy articulation and leadership and structures, the administration has taken the majority of the Coalition’s elucidated recommendations for the 100-day window, including designing a White House Council to address issues of race and gender in all areas of domestic and foreign policy, and committing to a national strategy thereto. Additionally, the administration has revoked numerous harmful policies undermining issues from climate change to immigration to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“This is more than building back better,” said Serra Sippel, President of CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity). “Never before has a U.S. president expressed support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is critical to achieve gender equality.”

“From ending the global gag rule to reaffirming that reproductive rights are human rights, the administration has taken clear steps to undo the harmful policies of the past four years, and to protect and advance sexual and reproductive health care around the world,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “But the work has only just begun.”

In the areas of funding and accountability, however, the Coalition found that progress is incomplete—owing in part to the narrow window of time available of the first 100 days. The report also notes some shortfalls with respect to the administration’s failure to integrate gender issues into its top domestic and foreign priorities, or to send a high-level delegation to the kickoff of the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico City in March.

“When looking at the issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the first 100 days, the administration has heavily focused on domestic issues rather than global ones and has not yet demonstrated transformative action on U.S. foreign policy,” said Aria Grabowski, Policy and Advocacy Manager at ICRW and. “And while the budget details that have been released are inadequate to evaluate at this point, there are concerning indications that this agenda may not be as well-resourced as the Coalition has recommended.”

“The U.S. needs an intersectional feminist foreign policy that centers those most marginalized and allows all to thrive,” said Latanya Mapp Frett, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. “Only 1 percent of global gender-focused aid gets to local feminist organizations. These grassroots groups need investment and urgent support in their work toward gender justice globally.”

According to the report, the administration’s commitments to date are signposts that it takes these issues seriously; however, there is not yet enough information to be able to determine the extent to which commitments will move from rhetoric to action. Moving forward, the Coalition will review progress at the one-year mark—when more information can be collected on structural change, resources, and accountability—against clear benchmarks the administration must meet to implement a meaningful and inclusive feminist foreign policy.  

Full Partner Quotes:

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Planned Parenthood and our supporters are encouraged by what we’ve seen so far from the Biden-Harris administration. From ending the global gag rule to reaffirming that reproductive rights are human rights, the administration has taken clear steps to undo the harmful policies of the past four years, and to protect and advance sexual and reproductive health care around the world. But the work has only just begun. Planned Parenthood is ready to work with the administration, Congress, and partner organizations to build a more equitable future for all people, by proudly and boldly embracing a feminist foreign policy.” 

“In its first 100 days, the Biden-Harris Administration has adopted support for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as official U.S. policy, a key component to a feminist foreign policy,” explained Serra Sippel, President of CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity). “This is more than building back better. Never before has a U.S. president expressed support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is critical to achieve gender equality. It is especially encouraging to see this administration recognize and honor the experiences of people all over the world, including transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals. We urge the U.S. government to continue to prioritize and protect SRHR for all and make our vision of a feminist foreign policy a reality.”

About the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States:

The Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States is a collective effort to develop a vision for the highest standard of U.S. foreign policy that promotes overarching goals of gender equality, human rights, bodily autonomy, peace and environmental integrity, while prioritizing the articulation of concrete policy recommendations. The coalition has over 80 members to date.

Mission Statement:

ICRW is the premier applied research institute focused on women and girls. In 2016, ICRW merged with the U.S. research organization Re:Gender (formerly the National Council for Research on Women) to create a global research platform.Headquartered in Washington, DC, with regional offices in India and Uganda, ICRW provides research and analysis to inform programs and policies that promote gender equality and help alleviate poverty.

 

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