Entries by Debra Fitzpatrick

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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.

100 Days for Labor and Family: Promised, Proposed and Passed

The Trump administration began with high expectations for job creation through protectionism and infrastructure development, reform of family leave and child care policies, and tax and regulation reforms aimed at stimulating economic growth. Little of that agenda has been implemented, yet clear patterns have emerged with important implications for gender justice and equality. This article examines policies related to Labor and Family that have been promised, proposed and passed.

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Gender and Violence at 100 Days

Anti-violence advocates had grave concerns about the Trump Administration. Its first 100 days have done little to allay those fears. Instead, we’ve seen a stunning lack of concern regarding the impact of leaders and policies on gender-based violence in the U.S. and internationally. If the Administration wanted to change the perception that it cares little about gender violence, fully funding VAWA, committing to continued enforcement of criminal and civil laws, and protecting the health, welfare, and dignity of those subjected to gender-based violence would be a good start. For victims of gender-based violence, such support cannot come soon enough.

A More Inclusive Trade Agenda Must Include Gender

Yesterday, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström accepted the Association of Women in International Trade’s prestigious woman of the year award in Washington, D.C. In her acceptance speech, “Building bridges, smashing glass ceilings”, Commissioner Malmström emphasized that trade liberalization and gender equality are mutually supportive, noting that the two most trade-enabling countries in the world —The Netherlands and Singapore— are also “highly gender equal” when it comes to wages. This point is an important one to emphasize within the current debate on the costs and benefits of trade agreements to which the United States is a party, and is supported by research.

Serving their States, Building Potential for the Future

Since state legislatures often serve as pipelines to higher office, the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) examined the number of women of color in each state legislature, both as a proportion of women and as a proportion of legislators overall. Nationally, women of color hold 5.9 percent of all state legislative seats; 23.7 percent of women lawmakers are women of color. As more policy authority is devolved to states, representation of women and women of color becomes even more important substantively, as well.