Image courtesy of NBC
Article By: Alexis Daigle
On March 27th, Donald Trump signed an executive order that rolled back the protections guaranteed to women in the workplace by the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order President Obama signed in 2014.
The executive order protected women from a multitude of forms of discrimination in the workplace, the most important of which were the equal pay protections and the sexual harassment protections. The act held back government contracts and funding from companies that didn’t enforce wage transparency or whose wages had significant gender gaps. It also required companies to provide proof that they followed government protocol. In addition, it prevented companies from making all sexual harassment cases arbitrations- a private, closed case that is dealt with outside of courts. Arbitrations make it virtually impossible for sexual harassment cases to reach public ears, and some companies had mandatory arbitrations as part of their contracts. Known by critics as “cover-up clauses”, they make it easy for sexual harassment in workplaces go unnoticed.
A perfect example of the damages arbitrations can cause is the scandal with Kay Jeweler’s and Jared’s parent company, Signet, which is facing backlash from tens of thousands of women working at the company, who are bringing cases of sexual harassment and wage disputes to the courts.
Trump’s rollback of this order just before Equal Pay Day represents a common continuity in his presidency- the misogynistic disrespect and demeaning of women. From his sexual assault allegations to his lewd statements about women, Donald Trump has done nothing but go against the respect he claims he has for women.
The media is so after me on women Wow, this is a tough business. Nobody has more respect for women than Donald Trump!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2016
I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2017
This newest development isn’t as shocking as it should be, and that alone should terrify people: we are watching as our own rights are being taken away from us without fanfare or coverage. The Trump administration has desensitized us to the removal of protections set up with the sole purpose of benefitting the American people. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act guaranteed people’s safety and security in their workplace without doing any harm to the businesses that treated their employees fairly, and it was still rolled back without a clear reason being given. The most important message we should take away from this act is that Trump does not care about the American people as a whole or their businesses, and is instead content to hurt individuals and their livelihoods to complete his nostalgic, destructive vision of society’s future.