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Advancing an Equitable Government

Delivering on the Promise of America for All

What is equity?

‘Equity’ means the consistent and systematic treatment of all individuals in a fair, just, and impartial manner, including individuals who belong to communities that often have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander persons and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; women and girls; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; persons who live in United States Territories; persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality; and individuals who belong to multiple such communities. (Executive Order 14091)

Learn more about how Federal agencies are working to build an equitable nation by delivering on economic justice, educational equity, environmental justice, civil rights, health equity, criminal justice, housing justice and community investment, and global equality.


"When any person or community is denied freedom, dignity, and prosperity, our entire Nation is held back. But when we lift each other up, we are all lifted up… Achieving racial equity and support for underserved communities is not a one-time project. It must be a multi-generational commitment, and it must remain the responsibility of agencies across the Federal Government. It therefore continues to be the policy of my Administration to advance an ambitious, whole-of-government approach to racial equity and support for underserved communities and to continuously embed equity into all aspects of Federal decision-making."

Sustaining an equitable future

On his first day in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, directing Federal agencies to advance equity for all Americans through an unprecedented transformation of decision-making processes, policy changes, and bold actions commensurate with the nation’s greatest challenges. To strengthen the Federal Government’s ability to address the barriers that underserved communities continue to face, President Biden signed Executive Order 14091, Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, on February 16, 2023. Executive Order 14091 reaffirms the Administration’s commitment to make real the promise of America for everyone, including by directing agencies to: purposefully dedicate expertise and personnel to equity efforts; expand Federal investment in rural and urban communities that have been locked out of opportunity; improve the quality, frequency, and accessibility of community engagement; address emerging civil rights risks; and promote data equity and transparency.

Under the guidance of the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at the White House, Federal agencies continue to: assess how their policies and actions (e.g., programs, services, processes, and operations) perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunity; develop and implement evidence-based solutions to advance equity and justice; exercise innovative approaches to public participation and community engagement; participate in interagency equity learning communities; and embed equity in the everyday business of Government.

These historic efforts are driven by annual agency Equity Action Plans that focus on specific agency strategies to redress inequities and promote equitable outcomes across America.

The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to holding Federal agencies accountable for results, and leveraging all existing policy, regulatory, and budget mechanisms to accomplish the monumental task of ensuring the Government works for all people. We will continue partnering with and learning from the American people as we work to forge a nation in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.

Hearing from the public

Executive Order 13985 charged OMB to identify and report to the President effective methods for assessing whether agency policies and actions equitably serve all eligible individuals and communities, particularly those who are underserved. As part of that effort, OMB issued a Request for Information (RFI) in 2021 to seek input, information, and recommendations from a broad array of cross-sector stakeholders.

OMB received and analyzed nearly 500 responses addressing the following areas: Equity Assessments and Strategies, Barrier and Burden Reduction, Procurement and Contracting, Financial Assistance, and Stakeholder and Community Engagement. In addition to reviewing and incorporating relevant recommendations from these responses into their work, Federal agencies continue to engage the public, including underserved communities, on the development and implementation of equity-related efforts.

Agency Action Plans

Equity Action Plans

Equity Action Plans are released annually by major Federal agencies, including all Cabinet and most Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Act Agencies. In 2022, more than 65 small and independent agencies also voluntarily released Equity Action Plans—in recognition of the value and urgency of applying an equity lens to improve agency performance and service delivery—and continue to advance equity efforts. Collectively, these Equity Action Plans lay out hundreds of concrete commitments to address the inequities that hold far too many communities back from prosperity, dignity, and equality.

Equity Action Plans are a critical component of the comprehensive approach for the Federal Government to transform itself—to ensure that fairness and equity become not just ideals, but principles embedded in the daily practices by which Government serves its people.

AA and NHPI Agency Plans

On May 28, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14031, Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, establishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI). In collaboration with WHIAANHPI, over 30 Federal agencies released agency plans, collectively representing the Administration's national strategy to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities.