Several GOP lawmakers suggested any effort to protect the rights of women and girls was a waste of time.
Republicans have spent the past several days mocking the White House's newly announced comprehensive National Gender Strategy as trivial, suggesting that tackling issues such as gender-based violence and human rights is a waste of time.
The initiative — the first of its kind, intended to address global gender equity and equality — was first announced on Friday. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris said they aim to "advance the full participation of all people — including women and girls — in the United States and around the world."
The intersectional strategy, according to a White House fact sheet, focuses on economic security, gender-based violence, health care access, education, justice and immigration, human rights, security and humanitarian relief, climate change, and science and technology, as well as "democracy, participation, and leadership."
In a 42-page document, the president and vice president announced that the White House Gender Policy Council would "guide its implementation" across the entire federal government.
"We look forward to partnering with Congress, local, state, Tribal, and territorial governments, civil society, the private sector, foreign governments, and multilateral institutions to drive progress towards the objectives outlined in this strategy," the White House wrote in its fact sheet.
Following the announcement, the GOP minority in Congress quickly made clear that it had no interest in such collaboration.
"Rest easy America, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden just released the 'first ever National Gender Strategy,'" Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted on Tuesday.
Montana Sen. Steve Daines tweeted dismissively that he was "pretty sure most Montanans are more concerned with what you're doing to address the skyrocketing cost of filling up their pick-up or putting food on the table."
"You just completed a National Gender Strategy!?!?! SERIOUSLY? You don't even have a National Security Strategy," Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson wrote.
Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson fretted over "how much time was spent on Kamala’s 'National Gender Strategy' plan," suggesting the White House was ignoring other pressing issues and putting "AMERICA LAST," while Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted, "America: 'Hey, what can we do about rising gas prices?' The Biden Administration: 'Have you heard about our National Gender Strategy?'"
"The White House has no interest in solving inflation, the border, or rising gas prices. But plenty of time for a 42-page 'National Gender Strategy' with an 'intersectional' focus on climate change," wrote Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
In reality, gender issues and gender-based discrimination are pressing topics faced by a large portion of the country.
A 2020 OnePoll survey, conducted on behalf of the health nonprofit Vitamin Angels, found that about half of American women say they face gender discrimination on almost a daily basis.
A 2017 Pew Research poll also found 42% of employed adult women had experienced some form of discrimination at work because of their gender.
According to a fact sheet published by the United Nations' gender equality organization UN Women, gender-based violence remains a huge problem around the world. An estimated 736 million women — almost one-third of the world's female population — have experienced intimate partner violence or nonpartner sexual violence at least once.
The GOP has long fought federal efforts to address gender discrimination. Since 2019, Republicans have blocked reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and in the two years that followed, refused to even bring the bill up for a vote in the GOP-controlled Senate.
This past March, 172 House Republicans voted against that legislation when it was brought to a vote after Democrats won control of the chamber. Only 29 Republicans voted in favor.
The legislation is currently awaiting action in the Senate once again.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.