Dozens of countries have a Cabinet-level official charged with tackling women's issues. It's about time the US—in which that role is spread across government agencies—gets one, too, according to Cathy Russell, whose former role as US ambassador-at-large for global women's issues hasn't been filled since President Trump took office. "For too long, a policymaking process that does not consciously consider half of the world's population has been the norm," Russell writes in a USA Today column published Tuesday, proposing "a new women's adviser as a long overdue corrective" to what is "a full-blown crisis." The US "has abdicated its leadership in promoting women's political and economic participation on the global stage" as disjointed offices for women's issues "are being largely ignored or even undercut by this administration."
Russell notes the Council on Women and Girls established by Obama has been disbanded, while there are fewer women in the Cabinet than at any other time since Ronald Reagan was president. Meanwhile, "America ranks behind 50 other countries in closing the gaps between men and women" and has "the worst maternal mortality rates in the developed world." Russell urges Congress to establish a Cabinet-level agency within the Executive Office of the President, just as the Department of Homeland Security was established to transform the "patchwork of government activities into a single department." This "will streamline efforts, increase efficiency and efficacy, and lead to greater accountability," Russell writes. "Our federal government must be truly representative. Women deserve no less." Read the column in full here. (Read more women's issues stories.)