International Women’s Day

#IWD2021 and Statement on Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Order Announcement

International Women’s Day

The Office of Gender Equity invites everyone in our K community to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), which is a global acknowledgement of the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women, as well as a call to action for gender equality in all domains. Today serves as a reminder that we all share the responsibility for creating a more equitable and just campus, and collective action will drive more balance and parity not just on our campus, but in our world.

With this year’s IWD theme of ‘Choose To Challenge’ in mind, everyone is encouraged to engage with a womxn’s issue you care about, celebrate the achievements of someone in our K community, challenge a bias or stereotype you see, or use your social media platform to demonstrate your support for a cause or movement. There are myriad ways in which we can challenge the status quo and work toward equality; any action, however big or small, can make a difference.

Additionally, it is imperative to remember that an acknowledgement of the contributions of womxn (globally and on our own campus) would be incomplete without recognizing the intersections (and compounding oppressions) of marginalized identities. Womxn of color and those in the LGBTQIA2S+ community have contributed in monumental ways to the larger project of equity without the same recognition as cisgender white women; at K, we strive to build a community where these voices are not only respected, but amplified. Today, the Office of Gender Equity reaffirms this commitment and identifies this intersectionality as a priority within our gender equity work on campus.

Biden-Harris Administration Executive Orders

This morning, President Biden signed two executive orders related to gender equity. The first established a Gender Policy Council in the Executive Office of the President. This council will be tasked with domestic and international policy concerns and working to ensure the full participation of women and girls in different domains, increasing access to education, improving health outcomes, and addressing the disproportionate burden the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on many women, particularly Black, Indigenous, Latina, and other women of color, to name a few.

The second executive order directed the Education Department (ED) to review all existing regulations and guidance around sex- and gender-basex harassment and discrimination for consistency with the Biden-Harris priorities and agenda. This will mean a review of the May, 2020 Title IX rule published by the ED under former secretary Betsy DeVos, and the possibility of this rule being suspended, revised, or rescinded.

The Office of Gender Equity is closely following the second executive order’s mandate and the pending ED response. As the landscape of Title IX is constantly evolving, further changes to our campus sexual harassment and assault policies will likely become necessary if the ED finds inconsistencies between the former administration’s priorities and its own.

Anyone with questions or comments related to these executive orders or IWD can contact the Director of Gender Equity and Title IX Coordinator, Lauren Rosenthal, via email at Lauren.Rosenthal@kzoo.edu or by calling 269.337.7480.

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