Entries by Debra Fitzpatrick

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Breastfeeding: How do state and federal laws protect employed mothers?

Prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare or ACA), in states without protections for nursing mothers, many women were forced to nurse or express breastmilk in bathroom stalls—if they were even given adequate break time. Women without break time and/or access to a private space often stopped breastfeeding upon return to work. Even with the ACA in place, some women lose their jobs for trying to work and pump (numerous stories demonstrate these and other challenges).  Now, as Congress and the White House again debate healthcare, mothers working in the formal economy have reason to worry.

Poor Prospects for Students and Teachers after the First 100 Days

The first 100 days of the Trump Administration were filled with curious incidents and whiplash-inducing statements and retractions regarding education. As the school year winds down, there is still uncertainty—as well as evidence that many programs and supports for students are under threat.

Our first offerings on this page raised concerns about school discipline policy, Title IX enforcement, and the influence of conservative groups on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s approach to curriculum and school choice. Since then, evidence has mounted that the Trump Administration will not become more “moderate” on policies that disproportionately impact gender, ability, and racial equity in education, from kindergarten to graduate school.

Gender transition healthcare services under the Trump administration

With the House of Representatives’ recent passage of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), we have begun to see the influence of Republican-controlled government on the U.S. healthcare system. Even though the bill is not yet law, those who identify as transgender or whose gender identity does not align with their assigned sex are already seeing vital healthcare protections dropped as the political environment shifts. Still, in this time of fear and uncertainty, there are a few examples of institutions increasing access for transgender folks to receive the healthcare they need.

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Ambassador Nikki Haley: Walking the Tightrope on Human Rights

One of our key inquiries on the subject of human rights in the Gender Policy Report is how the face of U.S. diplomacy will be transformed by the Trump Administration. Of particular interest are key changes in U.S. institutions and personnel, which signal a shift on international protections for human rights and gender equality around the world. This inquiry leads us to the most prominent female presence in foreign policy, Nikki Haley, confirmed by the Senate on January 24, 2017, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

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Climate and Environmental Policy in Trump’s First 100 Days: A Summary through a Gender Lens

Of all the actions President Trump has taken in his chaotic first months in office, moving to roll back the previous administration’s environmental and climate rules may have the greatest impact on future generations. Against the overwhelming evidence, scientific consensus, and trends in public opinion, Trump threatens to dramatically reshape climate and environmental policies – many of which will lead to disparate outcomes for men and women. The Trump Administration has made announcements and taken actions to slow or repeal Obama-era environmental protections related to coal mining waste, clean water, oil and gas drilling, vehicle emissions, and power plant carbon dioxide emissions. By some estimates, Trump rolled back 23 environmental rules in his first 100 days. The Administration has also removed information on climate change from EPA websites, proposed a budget that would significantly cut back federal funding for environmental protection and clean energy research, made significant cuts to the scientific advisory boards to the EPA, and nominated individuals with notable anti-environmental regulation positions for key regulatory positions.

A Retreat from International Human Rights is not Gender-neutral

In its first 100 days, the Trump administration’s “America First” rhetoric and actions have led to an increased focus on national security and a retreat from international institutions. In particular, these early days have been marked by disengagement from or attacks on international human rights systems that play a key role in the protection of women’s rights. For all their shortcomings—including their own historic gender biases—international human rights norms and institutions provide an advocacy space for groups whose dignity, worth, agency, or security have been systematically undermined by state policy and practice. This has been especially true for the rights of women. We have observed retreats from human rights at home, from human rights in foreign policy, and from the spaces and practices designed to uphold women’s rights globally. Here, we highlight some of the human rights effects of the fledgling administration’s actions—and inactions.