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.
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.
America loves dining out. In fact, the restaurant industry is among the fastest growing economic sectors in the United States. So popular is the restaurant industry that few of us are aware of its worst kept secret: the subminimum wage for tipped workers. While consumers receive prompt service and delicious food from food service professionals who take great pride in their work, most consumers do not know the extent of poverty, discrimination, and sexual harassment faced by millions of women in this industry. In the absence of and unlikely prospects for federal action under the Trump administration, the policy changes necessary to end this dehumanizing and gender inequitable status quo are occurring at the state and local levels.
If OSHA rules are discarded, this will hurt workers of all genders, but in starkly different ways. Data, for instance, suggest men and women suffer differentially in workplace accidents. According to OSHA’s workplace fatality data, there were 1,268 workplace fatalities in fiscal year 2015.
The Trump administration has made opposition to trade and offshoring a hallmark of its economic and social policies. Its “America First” strategy, which President Trump introduced in his inaugural address, paints globalization in especially stark and violent terms: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world… We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.” The focus on the destruction of jobs has been central to Trump’s campaign and his early presidency, and appears to be a very targeted message: we are going to save the jobs of white, working class men.
“We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor,” said President Trump, in his inaugural address, referring to his plans to invest in infrastructure spending. As with many of his proclamations, it is yet unclear what this means in policy and practice but it is worth looking at some of the possible implications for gender equity.
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