Trump tried to claim the Women's Marches were in celebration of his policies. But from equal pay and maternity leave to health insurance and workplace discrimination, all he's done is turn back the clock for women in the workforce.
Massive crowds of women took to the streets nationwide on Saturday to participate in the 2018 Women’s March on the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Meanwhile, Trump took to Twitter to brag about the protests against his own presidency and demand praise for what he claims is his role in advancing women’s economic prospects.
“Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March [sic],” Trump tweeted. “Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Trump wants people to focus on the employment numbers that he inherited from President Barack Obama because if we focus on anything else, things suddenly don’t look so great.
While it’s true that women are entering the workforce in historic numbers, Trump’s policies aren’t driving that trend. In fact, just the opposite is true: Trump spent his first year in office making the workforce a more hostile place for women.
Women may be finding jobs, but thanks to Trump, they’re facing more obstacles to keeping those jobs and advancing their careers. Through a series of executive orders, regulatory roll backs, and policy changes, the Trump administration has launched an all-out attack on gender equality and inclusivity in the workplace.
For example, in March, Trump reversed an Obama-era policy that prohibited federal contractors from concealing sexual harassment and discrimination cases. The move, which affects about 26 million women, made it easier for companies to secretly settle complaints out of the public eye thus enabling employers to keep engaging in problematic practices, and silencing employees who report such complaints, the majority of whom are women.
“This was a clear sign of the administration silencing women,” Jessica Stender, senior staff attorney for Equal Rights Advocates, told the Huffington Post.
In August, Trump rolled back an Obama-era rule meant to help close the wage gap between men and women through greater transparency and mandatory reporting requirements. The policy made it easier for women to determine whether they were being paid less than their male counterparts by requiring employers to disclose pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Women’s rights activists slammed the move, calling it “an unacceptable and deliberate attack on women in the workplace.”
In October, the Trump administration also rolled back the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage mandate, allowing employers and insurers to refuse to cover contraception in their insurance plans if they claim religious or moral objections to it. The ACA’s mandate saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013 money that women now stand to lose.
“By taking away womens access to no-cost birth control coverage, the rules give employers a license to discriminate against women,” Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Womens Law Center, said at the time. “This will leave countless women without the critical birth control coverage they need to protect their health and economic security.”
In addition to these regressive moves, Trump’s budget included massive cuts to critical programs for women and families, and proposed a family leave plan that was so underfunded, unworkable, and exclusionary that some policy analysts warned it could “do more harm than good.”
Trump also moved to eliminate the Economic Development Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency, both of which have been shown to help reduce gender inequalities in entrepreneurship.
More women entering the workforce is, of course, a positive trend but if Trump keeps throwing up barriers at every step, it’s a trend that may soon be reversed, no how matter how many reality-denying tweets he sends out.