Tonight, we will see a historic image. For the first time in our nation’s history, two women will be on the podium with the President as he delivers an address to a Joint Session of Congress. Vice President Harris and Speaker Pelosi are presiding over a new era where a progressive, feminist agenda is starting to take shape. You should feel pride as a NOW member in helping to make this day a reality.  

As President Biden speaks, marking his first 100 Days in office, NOW is working on the next 100 and all the days to follow. We began by setting down our goals and priorities for this period in our series of listening sessions, conducted with Black Women’s Blueprint, which conclude next week. We have listened to various people about their lived experiences on issues of equality, climate justice, police reform, LGBTQIA + rights and economic justice. You can catch up with past sessions and register for next week’s event here.  

President Biden’s “American Families Plan” will act on policies that have long been part of NOW’s core agenda. Expected to devote hundreds of billions of dollars to child care, universal pre-K, paid family and medical leave, tuition-free community college, and extending the expanded child tax credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, among other priorities.  

Gender equity, pay equity and issues relating to economic justice are essential as we push forward a feminist agenda, especially in the wake of a global health pandemic. We need to close the drastic gaps in the “care infrastructure” that has set countless women, especially women of color back. The pandemic pushed millions of women to choose between keeping their jobs or taking care of themselves and their families. Structured aid needs to address economic disparities between women of color but also help eliminate the obstacles working families face on a daily basis. It shouldn’t have taken COVID-19 to wake lawmakers up to the fact that our systems are inherently broken and limit our progress towards equality and justice. A global pandemic can’t be the only time our leaders will support child care, access to healthcare or time off from work to deal with illness.  

The “American Jobs and Families Plans” offer necessary services and relief to women who have been trying to keep their heads above water, not only this past year but for decades. These plans understand the essential role women play in our society, not just restoring the economy, but moving it forward. When members of Congress debate this plan in the coming weeks, we need to remind them that achieving gender and pay equity requires bold ideas and bold actions.   

Of course, the journey from the goals President Biden will outline tomorrow night to legislative reality is going to be difficult. We know that nothing comes easy, especially a change of this magnitude. But the history of NOW is one of persistence and dedication and with a focus on intersectional change I know that we are up to the task before us.