Despite the intransigence of the current occupant of the White House, President-Elect Joe Biden continues to announce his picks for key roles in his upcoming administration. Earlier this week, Biden made history (and it’s unfortunate that he made it, given that it is 2020) by announcing a first-ever all-female communications team. Much was abuzz about this move towards gender equality in the workplace — and then it was revealed that over half of the team are working moms. The news follows his hiring of Tony Blinken, a known toddler dad, as potential Secretary of State in the new administration.
Of course, parenthood does not automatically a qualified government official make. There are plenty of parents in elected office across the country who are bad at their jobs. But it is encouraging to see that the most high-profile workplace in the country is a place where working parents of young kids are actually welcomed, and not sidelined due to their out-of-workplace obligations.
Of the 27 people whom Biden has announced will join his administration (many are still pending approval by the Senate), at least six are parents of children under 18. In the cabinet, Antony Blinken (father of two toddlers) and Alejandro Mayorkas (father of two girls, one in college) are Biden’s nominees for Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, respectively.
And it sure looks like the White House Christmas Party will have a robust kids’ table. The highest-ranking working parent in the West Wing will likely be Jen O’Malley Dillon, fresh off of managing Biden’s successful campaign, will serve as deputy chief of staff while raising three young kids.
And over in the communications shop, soon-to-be communications director Kate Bedingfield and soon-to-be press secretary Jen Psaki will do their big, demanding jobs while raising two kids each. Karine Jean-Pierre, who adopted a daughter with her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, will serve as the principal deputy press secretary.
Hopefully, the fact that so many working parents will be in positions of power will help make pro-parent proposals like Biden’s childcare plan into actual laws that will help their brethren. Until then, the fact that there are so many working parents at the White House will remain a symbolic gesture, albeit a nice, positive, and encouraging one.