President-elect Joe Biden has started rolling out the names of senior officials and advisers who will join his incoming administration, keeping his promise of building a diverse cabinet that “looked like America”.
Unlike the predominantly white and male Trump administration of the last four years, several of Biden’s picks for top White House posts are women and people of colour.
With Kamala Harris set to make history as the first female, Black and Indian-American Vice-President of the United States, Team Biden has also nominated women to key cabinet and cabinet-level positions including, Treasury Secretary, US ambassador to the United Nation, and Director of National Intelligence.
Introducing his first round of cabinet nominations earlier this week, Biden said, “It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Once again sit at the head of the table, ready to confront our adversaries and not reject our allies. Ready to stand up for our values.” 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram
Biden’s proposed White House team appears to be stacked with veterans from the Obama administration, including Alejandro Mayorkas, who has been nominated as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. If confirmed, he will be the first immigrant and Hispanic American to lead the department.
So, who are the women nominated to join Biden’s incoming administration?
Janet Yellen — Treasury Secretary
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, a well-known labour economist with a career spanning over three decades in policy-making, to serve as his Treasury Secretary, the Wall Street Journal reported.
If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first woman in US history to head the Treasury Department and will, in turn, helm Biden’s economic response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has cripples the country’s economy, rendering the highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression.
The 74-year-old economist spent years teaching at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley before making her initial foray into Democratic politics as head of former US President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers in the late 1990s.
In the decades that followed, she served as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, a Fed governor and Fed Vice Chair, before ultimately becoming the first woman to chair the country’s Federal Reserve under the Obama administration.
During her tenure in the Federal Reserve, Yellen was credited with bringing the US economy back on track after the debilitating financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that closely followed.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield — US Ambassador to the United Nations
After her decades-long career in the State Department was terminated under the Trump administration, seasoned diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield has been nominated by Biden to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations — the country’s most coveted diplomatic job.
Thomas-Greenfield served as the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa under the Obama administration between 2013 and 2017. She led efforts to shape US policy towards sub-Saharan Africa during major catastrophes such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Reuters reported.
She has previously served as director general of the foreign service as well as the US ambassador to Liberia under both George W Bush and Obama.
I’ve had the privilege to build relationships with leaders around the world for the past thirty-five years. As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, I’ll work to restore America’s standing in the world and renew relationships with our allies. Blessed for this opportunity.
— Linda Thomas-Greenfield (@LindaT_G) November 23, 2020
The daughter of third and eighth grade dropouts, Thomas-Greenfield has been vocal about her experience growing up in segregated Louisiana. In a TEDx talk aired last year, she recalled her upbringing in the “Deep South…in a segregated town in which the KKK regularly would come on weekends and burn a cross in somebody’s yard.”
Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence
Earlier this week, Biden’s transition team announced the selection of former Deputy Director of the CIA Avril Haines as his new Director of National Intelligence. If confirmed, Haines will be the first woman in the role.
While serving as Deputy Chief Council for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee between 2007-2008, the 51-year-old New York-born lawyer worked closely with Biden — who was then the Chairman of the committee at the time.
In 2010, she was appointed as a legal adviser to the national security adviser. She was appointed Deputy Director for the CIA three years later, and returned to the White House in 2015 as Principal Deputy National Security Adviser.
How many positions in Trump’s cabinet are filled by women?
The Trump’s cabinet was more white and male than any other cabinet in the last four decades, according to the New York Times. Only about 25 per cent of his appointments to Senate-confirmed positions are women.
Under former President Obama’s administration, on the other hand, around 43 per cent of the appointees were women.