President Trump has taken many by surprise with his recent threats to impose global tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.  Presumably seeking to deliver policy goods to his political base, the remarks appear aimed to support the principally white male workers in the steel and aluminum industries. But if these tariffs are imposed, negative consequences will hit a whole host of other workers, and women workers in particular. Trade, too, is a gendered policy area. Trade issues formed a central pillar of Trump’s campaign promises, which emphasized re-negotiating multilateral and bilateral trade agreements and increasing tariffs on imported goods from specific countries (China, Mexico) as well as across the board. These promises appealed to voters who saw globalization generally and free trade deals in particular as detrimental to American jobs and workers.

Federal infrastructure spending is generally popular across the political spectrum – but with research-informed policy-making, that infrastructure spending could be more effective in achieving multiple policy objectives, including greater gender equity.  A large part of President Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan is slated for improvements to our transportation system.  With significant public and private partnerships envisioned, policy choices at all levels of government and within private sector organizations are important for achieving a more gender equitable public transportation system.

On the 25th anniversary of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, Gender Policy Report Labor & Family contributor Debra Fitzpatrick connected with Jackie James, co-director of the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, and Jennifer Greenfield, assistant professor at the University of Denver/ Graduate School of Social Work, to discuss the law and proposed policy innovations. They recently co-authored an OpEd and spearheaded an effort to engage 113 researchers on aging, work and family issues to advance specific policy solutions.

On October 5, 2017, the New York Times revealed that Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, paid eight settlements in response to allegations of sexual harassment, dating back to 1990. The article detailed a behavioral pattern in which Weinstein lured women into meeting with him on the pretense of work and then appeared in various states of undress, demanded a massage, touched women without consent, or asked them to watch him shower. Weinstein’s conduct was condemned, but contextual questions soon emerged: who helped him create opportunities to harass and assault women, and who refused to see the harassment and hear victims’ complaints? Many people privately knew about Weinstein’s behavior. His sexual violence did not become public, however, due to the use of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) in settlements with victims. Purportedly part of the solution to harassment (i.e., legal settlement), NDAs can facilitate harassment by keeping sexual violence secret and victims silent.