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A headshot photo of Jennifer Klein from the elbows and up. She smiling directly at the camera, and she is wearing a white blouse with a black cardigan. She is a white woman with straight brown hair that comes to her shoulders.

Jennifer Klein

Co-Chair And Executive Director Of The White House Gender Policy Council

SUMMARY: Jennifer Klein has had a decades-long career working on domestic and global policy. Trained as a lawyer, Klein began her career as an Associate with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York City. Klein transitioned into the political sphere in her role with the Clinton Administration, in which she served in a dual appointment as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and the Domestic Policy Advisor to the First Lady. In recent years she has occupied a number of leadership positions advancing gender equality and rights for all. Klein’s previous work championing gender equity and supporting reproductive health, rights, and justice—in addition to her intersectional approach and advocacy for LGBTQIA+ communities—warrant a green categorization.

Klein Was Named Co-Chair and Executive Director For The Gender Policy Council In March 2021

Klein Was Appointed Co-Chair and Executive Director For The Gender Policy Council On March 8th, 2021. “Jennifer Klein, Chief Strategy and Policy Officer at TIME’S UP and ICRW Board Member, is being appointed co-Chair by the incoming Biden Administration to the newly forming White House Gender Policy Council.” [International Center for Research On Women, 1/19/21].

The Formation Of The New Council Was First Announced in January 2021. “On January 19th, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced the formation of the White House Gender Policy Council, co-chaired by Jennifer Klein and Julissa Reynoso. President-elect Biden pledged to create a White House Council on Gender Equality, to guide and coordinate government policy that impacts women and girls, across a wide range of issues such as economic security, health care, racial justice, gender-based violence, and foreign policy, working in cooperation with the other White House policy councils.” [Philanthropy Women, accessed 10/7/21].

Klein Has Worked On Issues Related To Gender Equity and Equality For More Than 25 Years

Klein Previously Served In A Number of Roles On Gender Equity Issues, Including Work On The Biden-Harris Presidential Campaign And With The U.S. Department Of State. “For more than 25 years, Klein has worked on gender equality, serving as the co-chair of the Women and Families Policy Committee during the Biden-Harris campaign, senior adviser on women’s issues during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and former deputy and senior adviser in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.” The 19th, 6/19/21]. 

Klein Worked Closely With Hillary Clinton On Women’s Issues During The Hillary For America Campaign As Well As During The Obama-Biden Administration. “Ms. Klein was a Senior Advisor on Women’s Issues to the Hillary for America campaign and transition team.  Prior to the campaign, she helped Secretary Clinton develop and implement No Ceilings, an initiative at the Clinton Foundation to evaluate progress for women and girls since the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women and to advance gender equality around the world.” [Institute for Women's Policy Research, accessed 9/28/21].

Klein Wrote About Systemic Inequalities Faced By Women In The Workforce. “Women earn only 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, African-American and Latina women earn even less, and that wage gap has essentially stagnated since 2007. Women occupy far fewer leadership positions than men in politics and the private sector. And they continue to bear a lopsided responsibility for housekeeping and caring for their families, even in households where both parents work full-time.” [Medium, 1/11/2018].

Klein Has Taught University-Level Courses On Gender Issues. “Klein has taught gender issues as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center and a Senior Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute.” [Philanthropy Women, accessed 9/23/21].

During The Clinton Administration, Klein Delivered A Special White House Briefing On Child Care Legislation. “Child care is a serious financial burden for families, costing an average of about $4,000 annually, and representing more than a quarter of household income for low-income families. […] In fact, a recent study found that more than one in four employed parents with children under the age of 13 had experienced a problem with their usual child care arrangements in the previous three months.” [11/22/97].

Klein Established Reproductive Health, Rights, And Justice As Priorities For The White House Gender Policy Council

Klein Declared Reproductive Rights, Health, and Justice As Priorities of The Newly Established Gender Policy Council. “And number three, women’s health, and that includes reproductive rights, health and justice, and it also includes other health issues. So we can delve more deeply into any of those issues and anything else that’s on your minds, obviously.  But I just wanted to name sort of because of the moment we are living in and the priority of this administration to that set of issues, that’s what – at least three of the things that I’m working on daily.” [U.S. Department of State, 4/1/21].

As Co-Chair Of The Gender Policy Council, Klein Held A Roundtable Discussion With Leaders In Reproductive Health And Women’s Rights To Discuss Restrictive Abortion Legislation In Texas. “Today, Gender Policy Council Co-Chairs Jennifer Klein and Julissa Reynoso, White House Counsel Dana Remus and Deputy White House Counsel Danielle Conley, Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach Emmy Ruiz, and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council Christen Linke Young hosted a roundtable with women’s rights and reproductive health leaders to discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling on Texas’ SB8.” [9/3/21].

In An Interview With The 19th, Klein Addressed Black Maternal Mortality Rates As A Long-standing Issue With Reproductive Health And Rights. “The third bucket is women’s health. Even before the pandemic, there were long-standing issues with reproductive health and rights. For example, Black maternal mortality rates have been disproportionately high, so we’ve been focused on how to address that.” [The 19th, 6/9/21].

Klein Has Emphasized An Intersectional Approach As Necessary For Global and Domestic Efforts To Address Gender Equity

During A Foreign Press Center Briefing, Klein Discussed The Need For An Intersectional Approach To Globally Address Gender Equity. “And as I said, really built into the executive order that created this council – and I will just pause for a second – it was not obvious that this Gender Policy Council would work both domestically and globally, right. That was a sort of new facet of the work – not that women’s rights and gender equality have not been front and center to the U.S. Government before, but it was just to name it and center it in a way that was really different than what had happened before. And so the order explicitly calls for gender equality through diplomacy, development, trade, and defense, and it calls for implementing U.S. commitments to women’s involvement in peace and security efforts and recognizing the needs and contributions of women and girls in humanitarian crises and in development assistance. So again, all of that is not only what we want to be doing, what the President has told us to do, but it is literally required of us now.” [U.S. Department of State, 4/1/21].

Klein Explained That Issues Related To Gender Equity Are Intersectional And Expansive. “These issues cross borders and they also cross policy councils. My job is to ensure that I’m working hand in hand with the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council — which is exactly what we do every day to make sure not only that we’re focused on gender issues and gender equity, but also on how these issues are embedded in all of the country’s policies. We wake up every day thinking about these intersections, particularly between race and gender.” [The 19th, 6/9/21].

Klein Has Expressed Her Intentions To Combat Discrimination Against LGBTQ+ Communities And Inequitable Policies That Harm BIPOC Women and Girls

Klein Expressed Support For The Use Of Gender-Inclusive Language And Anti-Discriminatory Policies To Support LGBTQ+ Communities. ‘“We are very inclusive in our definition of gender,’" Klein said in a White House briefing Monday. "We intend to address all sorts of discrimination and fight for equal rights for people, whether that's LGBTQ+ people, women, girls, men." [NPR, 3/8/21].

Klein Shared Her Intent To Address Policy Barriers That Disproportionately Harm BIPOC Women and Girls. “The Council's staff will include a special assistant to the president to focus specifically on "policies to advance equity for Black, indigenous and Latina women and girls of color," Klein said, in recognition of the historical and disproportionate barriers those groups face.” [NPR, 3/8/21].

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