Last week Politico announced that President Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller will be working alongside Ivanka Trump on women’s issues, including family leave and childcare policy.
The 31-year old speech writer has no experience working on women’s issues, and many women’s rights advocates have pointed to an article he once wrote denying the existence of the gender wage gap and opposing paid maternity leave as reason for concern over his appointment.
In an opinion piece titled “Sorry feminists”, Miller cites the gap as a product of less hours worked by women compared to men, placing the blame on women’s choice of “lower-paying professions” with “fewer hazards.” He claims that “in modern-day America, there is a place for gender roles,” for if we close the gap many men will be forced give up a “noble career.”
“The image of Stephen Miller, a well-documented misogynist, headed up the White House’s ‘women’s issues’ department would be laughable if it wasn’t so horrifying,” commented EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriok.
The popular citation regarding the wage gap is that a woman makes 79 cents for every man’s dollar, but taking other social divisions into consideration reveals that minority women have it much worse. For every dollar a white man earns, African American women make only 63 cents, Native American women make 58 cents, and Latinas make 54. Lesbian women make less than both gay and heterosexual men, and trans women make much less following transition. Disabled women make 3 cents less than disabled men, and mothers make 71 cents for every dollar paid to a father.
This loss of pay will go on to affect women for the rest of their lives. “Lower pay throughout their working lives also means that women contribute less to retirement plans, receive lower pensions and lower Social Security benefits,” states Joint Economic Committee Ranking Member Carolyn Maloney.
The result of this is that women 75 years and older are twice as likely to live in poverty than their male counterparts. Women of color experience poverty on a particularly high scale, with one in five living in poverty overall, and three in five who are living alone live in poverty.
On April 4th, the day before Equal Pay Day, the President revoked an Obama-era executive order requiring companies with federal contracts to follow wage transparency clause, including informing employees of specific deductions, rate of pay and total hours worked so that female employees feel empowered to make sure they are being paid the same as their male coworkers.
The revoked order also banned companies with federal contracts from putting in contracts forced arbitration clauses in cases of sexual harassment or discrimination.
Media Resources: Politico 4/13/17; The Huffington Post 4/14/17; The Duke Chronicle 11/22/2005; Economic Policy Institute 7/20/16; National Women’s Law Center 9/19/16; US Congress Joint Economic Committee 4/08/16; Feminist Majority Foundation 4/7/17