Remember in 2015, when Donald Trump tweeted “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” How about the time in 1992 when he said about women — “You have to treat ’em like shit.”
Yet four years ago, as he ran against one of the most qualified candidates in US history (who just so happened to be a woman), more than 50 percent of white women in America voted for him.
Since his inauguration in January 2017, Donald Trump has persistently hacked at the rights of women in their health, employment, economic security and citizenship. He has continually worked against women’s interests to bolster religious conservatives and big businesses. We’ve seen a presidential term rooted in racism, bigotry, misogyny, ableism and perhaps every other form of discrimination and prejudice under the sun.
Last Tuesday, at a rally in Michigan, Trump argued that he deserved women’s votes because he would be “getting your husbands back to work”, proving just how grossly out of touch he is.
In America, women have been forced to leave the workforce at a much greater rate than men due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last month alone, almost 900,000 women left the workforce in the US — a rate four times higher than men. And that’s not even stating the obvious; that the 74-year old assumes every woman in America has a husband and that these husbands belong in the workplace.
Let’s look at ten reasons why women are keen to see the back of Donald Trump:
- Breaking up families
Between 2017 to 2018, under President Trump’s zero tolerance policy, hundreds of parents were separated from their children at the U.S. border. The policy ensured that migrants and asylum seekers trying to cross the U.S. border outside of official ports of entry were to be detained and criminally prosecuted.
According to official government lists, roughly 1,500 children were separated from their parents during this time. These are parents who have legitimate fears of being in their country, and making them ask for asylum in the first place. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department reported that the parents of 545 children who were separated at U.S.-Mexico Border have yet to be located.
- Controlling women’s bodies
Trump has been rolling back abortion rights since he took office more than three years ago. His administration mounted ferocious attacks on abortion rights by proposing “domestic gag rules” on abortion counselling and provisions, which meant clinics and programs that get federal family planning funds would be barred from “providing abortions, referring women to places that do, or even counselling women that abortion is an option.”
These funds normally support healthcare services such as contraception, cancer screening, and treatments for sexual transmitted disease. The American College of Physicians are among a host of organisations who believe such rules “imposes the conservative religious beliefs of a minority on the entire American population, directly contradicting the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion on which our nation was founded.” Since then, roughly 1.6 million women in America have been unable to access urgent family planning services.
- Making the highest court in the country conservative
Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the US Supreme Court last Tuesday, securing a 6-3 conservative majority. This means so many things, but most troubling at this stage is the first case the court will be hearing the day after the election. Fulton v City of Philadelphia will be argued in the Supreme Court; it is debating whether religious foster agencies can refuse to work with same-sex couples and parents. If it is won, private agencies who receive taxpayer-funding to provide government services like foster care providers, food banks and homeless shelters can deny services to LGBTQI, Jewish, Muslim, or Mormon individuals. Human rights are on the line, and with a ruling that could come as soon as the ninth of November, we are all nervously waiting to see whether discrimination on the basis of “religious liberty” will be Trump’s next (hopefully last?) attempt at curtailing basic human rights. Trump has also expressed he wants the judges on the Supreme Court to vote to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which mandates most healthcare plans to cover contraception with no out-of-pocket cost.
- Expanding religious ideologies
Since 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been working to codify ways to expand religious and moral exemptions for employers, universities, and insurers who don’t want to give citizens basic contraceptive coverage. Trump’s administration has consistently tried to use religion as a way to chip away at the rights of those who are not white, able-bodied, straight and so on. Last year, his administration worked to broaden religious exemptions that expand health care providers’ ability to deny health care services for transgender people and abortion care for women based on religious objections.
- Corroding equal pay
Trump’s administration has never implemented concrete action to strengthen equal pay protections; this is in a country where women earn 82 percent of the full-time weekly pay check of a man. Black women earn 68 percent and Latina women, 62 percent of the full-time weekly pay of a white man.
In August 2017, the Trump administration told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to stop implementing the pay data collection rule, saying it was too burdensome. The pay data collection rule was revised by the Obama administration and required employers with more than 100 employees to submit pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission through a form called the Employer Information Report. This regulation aimed to strengthen investigations and help combat pay discrimination. Trump has made efforts to derail this pay data rule, saying last year that he wanted to discontinue this pay data collection.
6. Putting students at greater risk of sexual harassment and assault
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. In May this year, the U.S. Department of Education finalised a rule that changes the way Title IX is enforced by narrowing the definition of sexual harassment and allowing educational institutions to require a greater burden of proof from accusers when investigating cases.
These changes to the rule will see survivors’ health and education costs increase and raise reporting and investigation thresholds, which means it is less likely that survivors will pursue formal investigations.
7. Cutting down pay for vulnerable women
More than 80 percent of black mothers in the US are the main breadwinners in their families. Yet The U.S. Department of Labor implemented a policy last year which raised the overtime threshold payment to $679 per week; which means these individuals cannot get more than an annual salary of $35,308. During the Obama administration, the threshold was $47,476 per year.
Roughly 4.2 million women are now worse off. The loss of overtime protections and earnings will significantly impact more than two thirds of working mothers in the US, and reduce the pay of single mothers and mixed race women who continue to experience the largest pay disparities in the workforce.
8. Slashing support for military caregivers and eliminating child care
Since Trump took office, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been cutting caregiver support for military families, even for veterans who depend on a full-time caregiver for their basic daily needs. Caregivers are almost always women and reducing support will put economic hardships on military families.
When Trump froze federal hiring, it led to the closure of military bases and the suspension of enrolment at military child care facilities when they were unable to hire child care providers, which military personnels depend on to do their jobs.
9. Cutting domestic violence programs
Trump’s 2019 budget proposed cutting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services budget by 18 percent, which means that the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s services would be significantly reduced. The National Domestic Violence Hotline estimates that more than 200,000 calls for help would be left unanswered.
Trump’s claims to make cuts to the Justice Department also means the Violence Against Women Act would be negatively affected.
The Violence Against Women Act aims to support survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence, and reduce sexual assault while also assisting indigenous communities affected by gender-based violence.
10. Erasing women and non-white people from leadership positions
It’s no surprise that Trump thinks very little of women. That’s why he’s only got four women in his cabinet. Not since Ronald Reagan’s administration has the team looked more white and more male. The women and racialised persons who have made it into his cabinet occupy lower-ranking positions than all the white men. Trump has also made it a point to leave crucial women’s positions vacant. He didn’t fill the global women’s issues ambassador at the U.S. State Department and the Office on Violence Against Women director at the U.S. Department of Justice. Why? Because Trump just doesn’t see women as full human beings.