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Secretary Raimondo Applauds White House Release of National Strategy Gender Equity, Reaffirms Commerce Department’s Commitment to Promoting Gender Equity


Today, President Biden released the first-ever U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, produced by the White House Gender Policy Council. It offers a roadmap to achieve the vision of a country and a world where every person has equal access to opportunities; where the safety and security of people of every gender is guaranteed; and where everyone is treated fairly at home and in their schools, workplaces, and communities.

The Department of Commerce is uniquely positioned to advance economic equity and help ensure that the administration is able to carry out this objective. The Department is committed to ensuring that women, girls, and nonbinary people are valued and empowered in all fields and walks of life, from the boardroom to the science lab to the factory floor. We are also dedicated to ensuring that women and girls have the opportunity to serve as leaders, decision-makers, and innovators in meeting the challenges ahead.

“President Biden has built a team that understands the value of women in leadership, and I am proud to be part of a team that prioritizes gender equity and equality. I am deeply honored to serve as the 40th Secretary of Commerce, but as only the fourth woman to fill this role, I know there is more work to be done,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “If we are going to ensure that women, particularly women of color, have multiple seats at the table, we need to invest in programs and policies across the public and private sectors that support women – from workforce training efforts to ensure women have the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century, to investing in our care infrastructure so all women have the opportunity to join the workforce. Doing so will not just be a win for women but will benefit our entire economy and make our country more competitive on the global stage.” 

In addition to fully supporting the strategy laid out by White House Gender Policy Council, The Department—through its various offices, agencies, and bureaus—has taken a number of actions related to promoting gender equity within the Department and is committed to continuing to enact further actions and programs to help all women and non-binary people reach their full potential.

The Office of Civil Rights

Chief Diversity Officer: The Department of Commerce is currently bringing onboard a new Chief Diversity Officer at the Senior Executive Service level. The level of the position reflects the importance the Department’s leadership is placing on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility. Gender Equity in DOC’s workforce, as well as in DOC’s programs and services will be one of the new CDO’s priorities.

The DOC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Council: In September, the Department convened a new Departmental DEIA Council, chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Don Graves. The Council is responsible for providing direction on Department-wide DEIA strategies and will oversee the Department’s implementation of the multiple executive orders relating to equity.   The Council has established eight thematic Committees that are charged with implementing specific EOs and other presidential directives. The Gender Equity Committee is one of these committees and will assist the Department in implementing the whole-of-government Gender Equity Strategy.

National Institute for Standards and Technology

Gender Equity Studies: The NIST Associate Director for Laboratory Programs invested a total of $1.8 million to support three separate studies of gender equity and inclusivity at NIST in FY20-21 and is widely disseminating the results of those studies.

Sisters in STEM: NIST staff members regularly participate in events meant to encourage the participation of women and others from underrepresented groups in STEM. One example is this 2021 code jam: NIST Builds ‘Sisters in STEM’ With YWCA Code Jam

The Minority Business Development Agency

Enterprising Women of Color: The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) developed Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) to focus on the fast-expanding minority women entrepreneur population as a revenue generator for families, communities, and the nation. Minority women are the fastest growing population of entrepreneurs. While many women are making tremendous strides in the business world, they still face obstacles as entrepreneurs. MBDA serves as an advocate for women’s economic empowerment by supporting efforts to advance women’s equality and promote women economic advancement programming. The vision of EWOC is to ensure women worldwide to reach their economic potential.”
International Trade Administration

Select Global Women in Tech: The International Trade Administration's SelectUSA “Select Global Women in Tech” mentorship network involves fifty female entrepreneurs engaging in a 6-month mentorship and training program with U.S.-based executives. SelectUSA has also formed a regular schedule of educational webinars and local commercial service offices around the world have also designed their own programming and recruitment tactics to drive female entrepreneurs to participate in the initiative.

Women Empowered Leave Legacies Through Trade & Investment: In January 2021, the International Trade Administration's Global Markets/U.S. Commercial Service and Office of the Middle East and Africa launched the Women Empowered Leave Legacies through Trade and Investment initiative, which offers U.S. government support for businesswomen engaged in trade and investment. U.S. women business leaders join virtual discussions with women entrepreneurs across Africa and the Middle East to learn about export opportunities and make connections with potential business partners. 

Startup Global Women: The Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Secretariat hosted a virtual program in partnership with the Global Innovation Forum for women entrepreneurs to hear insights and advice from women-led startups that have gone global, technology providers, and government trade experts on the benefits of building a global business from day one. 

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum: The Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Secretariat serves as the U.S. focal point for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group, leading a workstream of women’s economic empowerment projects. These include projects to address systemic barriers that prevent women entrepreneurs from taking advantage of cross-border e-commerce opportunities and case studies, best practices of women entrepreneurs leveraging digital tools and technologies to reach global markets, encouraging gender mainstreaming in trade promotion programs, and promoting the development of tailored programs and interventions that address the unique challenges women face growing their businesses through trade.

Global Diversity Export Initiative: The Global Diversity Export Initiative directs and focuses existing trade promotion and inward investment resources to minority and women-owned businesses. The program leverages the International Trade Administration's strategic partnerships with organizations that serve women-owned businesses to promote export assistance tools and services to a diverse community of women-owned and women-led businesses, including the Organization for Women in International Trade (OWIT) and WEConnect International.

Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), Office of the General Counsel

Commercial Rights:  CLDP programs address how commercial and economic laws can enable women in the economy, through contract enforcement, and application of existing legal rights through awareness building and capacity building. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, CLDP provides workshops and trainings related to enforcement of existing commercial laws for women legal professionals and women entrepreneurs. Recent workshops have specifically focused on empowering women in technology with an emphasis on promoting entrepreneurship through IPR, negotiating licensing agreements, access to finance, and market access.  

Public Procurement: CLDP programs focus on helping women entrepreneurs gain access to government contracting and public procurement systems, while working in partnership with governments and businesses to address barriers. These programs build awareness about public procurement systems, including understanding various components and stages of government contracting, as well as opportunities for women-owned businesses to access the system. Additionally, CLDP programs also focus on building greater transparency with respect to the procurement system of the countries it provides technical assistance programming to including emphasis on key tools such as electronic procurement and e-advertising, which in turn helps provides equal and more transparent access to such contracts.

Trade and Business Networking:  CLDP technical assistance provides greater access to trade and business networking for women entrepreneurs through programs that emphasizes amplifying women’s voices and industry interests through CLDP platforms. The CLDP Central Asia Regional WEE Working Group focuses on providing a platform and opportunities for increased interconnectivity of women-owned businesses in the Central Asia region through strategic partnerships between local and national chambers of commerce and trade associations, as well as for increased trade and commerce for women entrepreneurs in the Central Asia region through advancements made in digital commerce/trade.

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Council for Inclusive Innovation: USPTO recently established the Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2)). CI2 was born out of a recommendation in the USPTO’s 2018 SUCCESS Act and report transmitted to Congress in 2019. The Council members are a group of high-level leaders of industry, academia, professional organization, independent inventors, small business, venture capital, and other government agencies. The USPTO, with the assistance of the CI2, is developing a national strategy to increase participation in the intellectual property ecosystem by encouraging, empowering, and supporting all future innovators and increasing the involvement of women and other underrepresented groups including geographically and economically. (Council for Inclusive Innovation | USPTO)

Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium: Domestically, the USPTO builds and supports the STEM/STEAM pipeline by focusing on encouraging women and girls to pursue and advance in STEM/STEAM careers and holding an annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium. The annual Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium offers attendees a chance to learn about innovation and business from public and private sector experts. At the symposium, attendees have the chance to learn about navigating today’s changing marketplace, explore ongoing efforts to bring women into the innovation ecosystem, hear from senior USPTO officials and other IP experts, and discover educational opportunities for girls and women in STEM fields. (Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium | USPTO)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program: NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries administers the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, seeking to increase the number of women and minorities who, due to financial constraints, may otherwise not be able to pursue an advanced degree in STEM fields such as oceanography, marine biology, and maritime archaeology, as well as ocean and coastal engineering, social science, marine education, marine stewardship, cultural anthropology, and resource management disciplines.

Tackling Gender Harassment and Violence: Over the past five years, NOAA has taken meaningful efforts to create positive change in the realm of sexual assault/sexual harassment (SASH) awareness, prevention and response through the agency and Department of Commerce. NOAA created the Workplace Violence Prevention and Response Program (WVPR) and authorized funding for the growth of the program, which has successfully illustrated the agency’s commitment to making NOAA a safe place to work. NOAA is currently the only Federal agency outside the Department of Defense with such a program, and able to provide victim services to Federal employees, affiliates, fellows, contractors and interns, among other eligible beneficiaries.

Gender Identity Protections: NOAA Policy on Gender Identity Protections was established to provide protections for all forms of gender identity and gender expression-- an important step for NOAA as it moves to foster greater diversity within the agency. The policy clearly and unequivocally signals to potential applicants and recruits that NOAA accepts everyone and takes protection of its workforce seriously.