The upcoming Biden administration will include many “firsts.” After Biden’s announcements in November, there will now be the first all-female communications team, the first female head of National Intelligence, Avril Hanes, the first immigrant in charge of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandros Mayorkas, and more.
“This is the first time when a President has made such a point in including women in the leadership positions,” says freshman Elena Tyvoll.
Notable new appointees include Janet Yellen, former chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and now the first female head of Treasury. Her deputy is Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, the first African American to secure that position.
Beyond diverse additions, there is another theme to Biden’s appointees: former Obama administration workers. According to NPR, Merrick Garland, Attorney General, was almost put on the Supreme Court three separate times by Obama; Jen Psaki, Secretary of the Press, was previously communications director during Obama’s administration; and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, held numerous positions under Obama.
But the diversity aspect of the Biden administration is of particular interest. “All-Female Communications team” was the first headline that sophomore Audrey Walton saw concerning the new appointees. Although her feelings on an all-female team are neutral, she understands why that is the big headline. However, she believes announcements ought to focus more on the merit of said appointees rather than their diversity. “…[W]hat they’re doing and what they [are] say[ing] is more important,” she explains.
Both Tyvoll and Walton believe that future diverse cabinets are possible. In Elena’s words, this inclusive action has set “a new precedent.” She does believe there ought to be a diversity quota, as it “can definitely help us stay on the right track.”
“Diversity is a journey,” Tyvoll concludes, “not a destination.”