The Biden administration has appointed a record-setting number of women to important positions. Notably, with Kamala Harris’s ascension from U.S. senator to vice president, she has become the first woman and first woman of color to hold that office.
This Women’s History Month, we are taking time to celebrate the progress made by women in leadership across the U.S. government and understand the impact this historic administration will have on healthcare and what it means for each of us.
Sarah Dick, group director, Real Chemistry, said, “These appointments have both inspired and challenged me. They have made me even more conscious of the need to step up and be the role model younger professionals are looking for and expect.”
Melissa Baron, senior account manager, Real Chemistry, notes that, while these appointments have made a positive impact on her personally, they also provide hope for a more equitable future beyond government and in the business world.
Here are some of the women in the Biden administration breaking glass ceilings:
Kamala Harris made history as the first Black American and South Asian American vice president. As a former San Francisco district attorney, she rose among the ranks to become the first Black woman to serve as California’s attorney general. When she was elected a U.S. senator in 2016, she became the second Black woman serving in the chamber’s history. Throughout her career, Harris has been an advocate for improving the health of all Americans, and has supported initiatives focused on food insecurity, female reproductive and maternal health, and racial health disparities. Together with President Biden, Vice President Harris will oversee the new COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will provide recommendations for addressing health inequities caused by the pandemic and preventing such inequities in the future.
Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Health Secretary, has been nominated by President Biden to be assistant secretary of health. She was appointed to her post by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in 2017 and has served as a key leader in the state’s COVID-19 response. If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Levine will be the first transgender cabinet-level nominee and will manage the nation’s pandemic response and address other public health issues.
Janet Yellen also made history – by being confirmed as the first woman to head the Treasury Department. She is also the only person to have held all three of the nation’s top economic posts — chair of the Federal Reserve and head of the Council of Economic Advisors in addition to Treasury secretary. As Treasury secretary, Yellen will be responsible for creating and implementing domestic and international financial, economic and tax policy.
Avril Haines is the new director of National Intelligence. She is a former deputy director of the CIA and principal deputy national security adviser under the Obama administration – the first woman to hold both roles. In her new position, Haines is expected to draw on global health insights to protect the interests of the United States and avoid pandemics in the future.
Cecilia Rouse, an economist and dean of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, was nominated to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisers. As chair, Rouse will play a key role in rebuilding the U.S. economy, which has been crippled by the pandemic. Since the public health crisis began, Rouse has been a strong advocate for providing economic relief to those most affected by the virus.
Katherine Tai, who serves as chief trade counsel for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, has been nominated to be the next U.S. trade representative. If confirmed, she will be the first Asian American to hold that position. In her opening statement before the Senate Finance Committee, Tai detailed her commitment to re-engaging international institutions to address common threats, including climate change, the pandemic and the global economic downturn.
Rep. Debra Haaland (D-NM), who made history by becoming one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in 2021, was confirmed by the Senate as secretary of the Interior. Haaland will be the first Native American person to oversee an agency that played a major role historically in the forced relocation and oppression of Indigenous people.
This historic administration has an opportunity to make positive contributions to a wide array of healthcare and health policy-related issues. As always, Real Chemistry is committed to doing our part to make the world a heathier place, which includes supporting diverse female leadership at both the corporate and federal levels. Read more about our initiatives to improve diversity on our website here.
– Fusion & WOW Business Resource Groups