Women in the Age of Trump - A Patriot NOT Partisan Exclusive Series
In 2016, three million more Americans voted for the first woman to occupy the Oval Office than did for the man who currently occupies it. The impacts were swift and significant.
In 2018, PatriotNOTPartisan is collecting the stories of these impacts, told by the women who are impacted. From mothers to politicians, scientists to students, this regular series will shine light on the new difficulties women are facing. To share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What follows is the first installment in this series.
Being A Woman In Trump’s America: Year One
I am one of the 66 million Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton. I was sure she was the only candidate who would protect and promote women’s rights, both domestically and abroad.
But Donald Trump surprised me*. He has, in fact, proven his dedication to women’s issues. In just under a year, he’s undertaken numerous actions which dispel any fear that women are not a focus of Trump’s presidency. Sure, his administration is nearly bereft of women, but meaningful action goes beyond tokenism. Who needs women in the Oval Office** when we have dozens of white men ready to do the heavy lifting for us?
For those doubting Trump’s devotion to changing women’s lives, I offer this list:
Trump didn’t just reinstate the Global Gag Rule, he massively expanded it. On his first full day in the White House, Trump zeroed in on global women’s health by expanding the Global Gag Rule-a policy which prevents organizations which receive funding from supporting or even mentioning abortion to those they help. Previously, this policy only applied to foreign NGOs, precluding them from receiving U.S. family planning funding if they advocated for abortion. But now, because of Trump, the Global Gag Rule expands to all global health funding — a whopping $9.5 billion.
As Margaret Talbot wrote for The New Yorker, “For Republican Presidents, the global gag rule is an easy sop to anti-abortion sentiment at home. But around the world it’s usually the poorest of the poor who suffer from it.” Indeed, the GGR has deadly consequences and actually increases the incidence of unsafe abortion.
But hey, it’s happening “over there,” so it can’t matter much. America First, amirite?
And then he withheld U.S. funding from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The UNFPA deals with family planning and reproductive health, providing maternal and child health services in more than 150 countries. Their work is essential to reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates, and improving women’s and children’s health.
Never mind the potential for lives saved. Trump believes that the agency “supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization” in China, despite no such evidence.
He’s obviously obsessed with women’s health. Not only is Trump the architect of international initiatives, he’s doing his best to make good on his campaign promise to overturn Roe v. Wade. His Supreme Court appointee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, has a frightening record with regards to women: Gorsuch doesn’t believe employers should pay for insurance coverage of birth control, he refused to provide a direct answer on whether he would rule against Roe v. Wade if given the opportunity, and has said women take advantage of maternity leave.
In other words, Trump’s SCOTUS pick doesn’t want to help prevent unintended pregnancies, doesn’t want women to have access to abortion, and then complains that mothers in the workplace take leave when they have the babies he so desperately wants to see us bear.
Birth control is also on Trump’s chopping block. No abortions—check! No birth control? CHECK! Trump’s administration announced a sweeping rule to eliminate the Obama-era requirement that insurance companies cover birth control. Luckily, a judge halted the order.
With the stroke of a pen, Trump dismantled workplace protections for women. In 2014, Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which among other things, ensured fair pay and established fair processes for sexual harassment claims.
The week before Equal Pay Day, Trump revoked this order, leaving thousands of women vulnerable to employer abuse and inequitable workplace conditions.
He defended a serial sexual harasser. No stranger to claims of sexual misconduct himself, Trump swiftly defended GOP darling Bill O’Reilly in the wake of sexual harassment revelations. The underlying message: the women who came forward are all liars, and one man’s word means more than dozens of women’s experiences.
And an accused child molester. Roy Moore, a disgraced Alabama judge who ran for U.S. Senate this year, was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct when they were minors. He was even banned from a mall, the mecca of adolescent girls. So naturally, Trump endorsed Moore. Abusers of a feather flock together.
Trump punished women and children with his GOP Tax Bill. Simply put, the bill will devastate working- and middle-class women and children. Because, of course.
Trump has been in office for just under a year — and look at all of the winning he’s done for women! At this point, it is impossible to argue that women aren’t a priority for Trump. Our bodies, our heath and our socioeconomic status have been a focal point of his administration. Is this what his female voting bloc was hoping for? If so, they’ve hit the jackpot.
Imagine what else he will accomplish in his remaining days.
* He’s actually much worse than I ever imagined.
** We do. We desperately do.
Contributing Editor: Maureen Shaw
Maureen Shaw is a multimedia journalist, activist and proud mama of two. Her writing has appeared widely online, including Quartz, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Rewire, ThinkProgress, Parents.com and more. She has also contributed to OURS Magazine, an international cultural magazine, and her essay on triumphing in the aftermath of rape is featured in the book Making Out Like A Virgin: Sex, Desire and Intimacy After Sexual Trauma.
Maureen tweets prolifically at @MaureenShaw.