Who is America’s New First Lady?
Joe Biden is now the president of the USA. His wife, Dr Jill Biden, is now the current First Lady. Traditionally, the First Lady has always had a prominent role in the running of the country, helping to make political and social changes.
Dr Jill Biden already has an incredible track record campaigning for social change. What exactly can we expect from her during the next four years? Will Joe and Jill prove to be a formidable power couple?
Dr Jill Biden’s background
Dr Jill Biden was born Jill Tracy Jacobs. Raised in Pennsylvania, she graduated from high school in 1969 before enrolling at Brandywine Junior College.
Before meeting Joe Biden, she married college football player Bill Stevenson in 1970. Jill grew disillusioned with her course in fashion merchandising and switched to studying English at the University of Delaware. This caused her and Bill to drift apart and they eventually separated in 1974.
Jill met Joe Biden on a blind date set up by Joe’s brother in 1975. During this year, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Jill was hesitant to marry Joe at first – who proposed several times. At this time, Joe was already Senator of Delaware and had two kids from a previous marriage (Joe’s previous wife and youngest child both died in a car accident in 1972). Jill was wary of taking on such responsibility while also pursuing her personal career. Having quickly bonded with the kids and already found herself getting involved in politics, she eventually agreed to marry Joe in 1977 – all while working as a teacher and studying a master’s degree.
Her career as an educator
Dr, Jill Biden has enjoyed a long and successful career as an educator.
In the late 70s, she taught English at a number of local public schools and at a psychiatric hospital. After achieving two Master’s degrees, she would eventually go on to teach English Composition at Delaware Technical and Community College in 1981.
Jill has continued to work as a university professor even since. During Biden’s term as Vice President during the Obama years, she continued to work full time at Northern Virginia Community College. Even now as First Lady, she is continuing to work as a university professor.
Her marriage to Joe Biden has meant that she has always been in the public spotlight. This has always put a lot of pressure on her career but has never held her back. Joe is known to be very proud of her career, stating in a recent interview ‘I’m glad she kept her profession… It’s important that she has the things she cares a great deal about, her independence’.
Jill has also got involved in the political side of education. She helped found Book Buddies, providing books for low-income children. She was also appointed by Obama to lead an initiative to raise awareness of the importance of community colleges in 2009.
Her work with cancer initiatives
Jill has dedicated a lot of time and energy to cancer research and to cancer initiatives. It is a subject that has affected her personally in many ways.
After four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer, Jill founded the Biden Breast Health Initiative in Delaware in 1993 with the goal of educating young women on the importance of detecting symptoms early. It would go on to inform 7000 high school girls about the importance of breast health.
Jill and Joe would later go on to lead the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot initiative after the death of their son Beau Biden in 2015. Beau died from a brain tumour at the age of 46. Both Jill and Joe have been heavily involved in cancer research ever since, helping to raise huge amounts of funding.
Her work with military families
Jill has also dedicated a lot of time to supporting military families. This is largely a result of being a military mum – her son Beau was in the military for a number of years.
Jill worked with Michelle Obama to launch Joining Forces back in 2011. This organisation was set up with the intention of helping veterans find work after serving, as well as helping military spouses to chase career opportunities. In 2012, Jill also wrote a children’s book for military families.
Alongside these ventures, Jill has been very active in supporting military families by working with local organisation Delaware Boots on the Ground. She has also run the Marine Corps Marathon (Jill is very passionate about running. She is known to run five miles every morning as part of her daily exercise routine!).
What are Jill Biden’s top goals as First Lady?
Jill Biden was heavily involved in her husband’s 2020 campaign for the presidency. She has described it as a ‘family business’ and has already vowed to help get involved in many social issues currently facing the country.
She spoke at the 2020 Democratic National Convention about helping to bring the nation back together, following the racial and political divide caused by Trump. She also discussed the impact that Covid-19 has had on education – a cause that she is likely to be very involved in given her extensive background in education (she has been very critical of former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos).
Jill is expected to be more invested in military families than Melania. She has already expressed her desire to revive Joining Forces – a non-profit organization that she launched with Michelle Obama, but that was practically shelved during Trump’s presidency.
Jill has vowed to continue teaching as an inspiration to women across the country. Previous First Ladies have always given up their careers to reside within the White House and be at their husband’s side. Jill wants to continue her career for her enjoyment and to show women that they can still be independent from their husbands, no matter how important their husband’s title is.