“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.

On January 23, 2017, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker announced a new pilot program to require the state’s food stamp recipients who have children to work 80 hours per month for those benefits. The change would require approval from the Trump Administration, since federal policy currently prohibits states from imposing additional requirements on food stamp recipients. Unlike the Obama administration, which utilized those policies to protect and expand access to this and other programs, President Trump has signaled his intention to weaken those guidelines or eliminate them completely.

What are the merits of a program delivered through Unemployment Insurance? While the idea holds promise for allowing the US to finally join the rest of the developed world in providing wage supports to parents after the birth or adoption of a baby, a deeper examination of the proposed policy parameters and funding mechanisms suggests that additional work is needed to craft a national program that accomplishes key policy goals and minimizes unintended consequences.

As scholars of labor relations, public policy, and management, we acknowledge that changes in the workplace have always been intimately connected to developments at home. In this section of the Gender Policy Report, we will track how these inter-connected domains are affected by federal policy that impact Americans and those living in the United States. We are particularly interested in the ways federal policies shape equality and equity among genders. In this first post we aim to provide context of labor relations and family in the U.S. over recent history. In future posts, we will provide updated research that speaks to policy changes that impact these domains.