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The year of women, in policy and politics

It has been a year of reckoning for women in the United States. It started with tons of of hundreds of women throughout the nation and the remaining of the world marching for women’s rightsIt would shut out with highly effective males like Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein accused of serial sexual harassment and abuse of women — and lastly dealing with penalties for his or her conduct. 

But what has modified for women in 2017, notably in authorities and policy? The Trump administration has taken actions on issues that instantly have an effect on women, together with funding for intercourse schooling, how schools deal with sexual assault instances and how some staff can acquire contraception. On the political aspect, women in the Senate turned key players in coping with sexual harassment in Congress, whereas the November election confirmed early indicators of a brand new wave of women operating for workplace.

“Under President Trump, women, working families and children have seen opportunities expand,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated in a press release.

We’ve catalogued and assessed some of probably the most vital modifications under.

What has modified for women and household planning

As one of his first acts as president, Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, otherwise known as the “global gag rule.” The rule, which has been carried out by each Republican president since Ronald Reagan and revoked by each Democratic one since Bill Clinton, bars overseas nongovernmental organizations that carry out or talk about abortion from receiving U.S. funding. 

“This is a pro-life administration and pro-life president,” Sanders stated. “This an issue he campaigned on, advocated for, and was proud to take action on as one of his first acts.”

However, sure NGOs and businesses that target illnesses such because the Zika virus and AIDS could lose funding as a result of additionally they supply household planning providers that point out abortion.

The Trump administration notified a number of grant recipients in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program that their funding would finish in June 2018, as an alternative of in 2020, regardless that their analysis had not concluded. The TPPP offered grants to organizations that may implement “evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs.”

The Department of Healthy and Human Services beneath the present administration argues that the TPP Programs that misplaced funding have been ineffective at stopping teen being pregnanthowever the packages had not yet finished their research, and supporters in Congress argued the packages contributed to the federal government’s understanding of the best way to forestall teen being pregnant. The teen birthrate in the United States has fallen steadily over the previous a number of years, although the nation nonetheless trails behind different Western nations in making progress.

“Early action from the Trump administration has signaled renewed support for abstinence-only programming,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In October, the Trump administration allowed employers to refuse to cover birth control on their insurance plans on religious grounds, a change lengthy sought by conservative teams. The choice sparked speedy authorized challenges, and to date it has been blocked in two federal courts. The requirement was a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

Changes in schooling guidelines

In September, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos revoked Obama-era necessities for a way universities are required to cope with sexual assault, arguing that they went too far in dictating how campuses ought to deal with these incidents.

Under President Barack Obama, schools have been required to make use of a decrease normal of proof, “preponderance of evidence,” when investigating a declare. With DeVos’s modifications, colleges will have to use “clear and convincing evidence,” a better normal of proof that an assault was dedicated. Supporters of DeVos’s change stated that it makes the method extra truthful for all college students and events concerned in these disputes, whereas critics argued it will make victims of assault much less more likely to report.

Health care and taxes

Though the Affordable Care Act was not repealed outright, and sign-ups continue apace, this system has been reduce by way of different means. The Republicans’ new tax invoice essentially axed the individual mandate, which was seen because the spine of the ACA.

The Trump administration sees these modifications as constructive for women and households. “We consider that extra freedom for individuals to decide on extra numerous plans with much less mandates imposed upon them are good for all shoppers, women and males alike,” stated White House spokesman Raj Shah.

Some specialists say that such dramatic modifications to health-care policy might have an antagonistic impact on women. “The health-care market is destabilized. I think we can reasonably expect some women to lose coverage, we just don’t know how many,” stated Laurie Sobel, affiliate director of Women’s Health Policy on the Kaiser Family Foundation. The uninsured price amongst women ages 19 to 64 has dropped from 17 % in 2013 to 11 % in 2016, in accordance with KFF. In 2016, about 91 % of women beneath 65 had some type of protection, up from 85 % in 2009, based on census knowledge.

The precarious future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, generally known as CHIP, might additionally have an effect on women and households. The program offers protection for hundreds of thousands of youngsters whose households make an excessive amount of cash to qualify for Medicaid however can’t afford or entry personal insurance coverage. The program ran out of funding on Sept. 30, 2017, and has but to be reauthorized. Congress simply injected this system with emergency funds that may final till March, however its future continues to be in limbo regardless of bipartisan help and the backing of the Trump administration.

The Republican tax overhaul, which Trump signed into regulation simply earlier than Christmas, consists of an expanded child tax credit because of a late push from Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). The Trump administration pointed to the enlargement of the kid tax credit score as a boon for women and households.

“The President is standing with working families by doubling the child tax credit and being the first to propose federal paid family leave in his budget,” Sanders stated.

Republicans stated the tax plan will assist the center class, however nonpartisan research recommend it will favor wealthier individuals.

Women in Congress

After beginning in Hollywood and working its approach via the media, the #MeToo motion got here for Congress. Several members of Congress resigned, together with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), after a number of allegations of sexual misconduct. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) introduced that he wouldn’t search reelection subsequent year after allegations surfaced.

After organizations like The Washington Post revealed the secretive, byzantine system for reporting sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, feminine lawmakers led the cost to repair the method. The Me Too Congress Act was launched in November, and it goals at altering the system by which Congress offers with sexual misconduct. The Senate additionally mandated that each one elected officers and their aides bear anti-sexual harassment training. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has said that the House would mandate comparable coaching.

Female illustration in nationwide politics

Early indications from such organizations as Emily’s List and She Should Run show record interest from women in operating for workplace.

In Virginia’s 2017 elections, 11 new women have been elected to the House of Delegates, a number of of them ousting Republican incumbents. The quantity of women in Virginia’s House rises from 17 to 27, and new members will include the chamber’s first Asian American woman and Latinas.

On the chief aspect, President Trump’s first Cabinet has the lowest percentage of women and nonwhite men of any since President Ronald Reagan’s. Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, had seven women in his first Cabinet. In comparability, Trump has 4, and solely two are in the “inner cabinet.” However, a number of women maintain different highly effective positions inside the White House. Sanders is the primary lady to function White House press secretary since Dana Perino in 2009, and is simply the third lady to ever maintain the place. Other women, together with Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump, maintain outstanding administration roles. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has gained specific prominence this year.

Trans women see modifications in politics and policy realms

Election Day was a landmark day for transgender women in authorities. Andrea Jenkins turned the primary brazenly transgender black lady elected to public workplace in the nation when she gained a seat on the Minneapolis City Council. That similar night time, Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, operating towards a Republican incumbent who had, in the previous, referred to himself because the state’s “chief homophobe” and launched a failed “bathroom bill.”

It was a nasty year for “bathroom bills,” laws that requires people to make use of the toilet that corresponds to their intercourse assigned at start and is usually seen as discriminatory by the LGBT group. North Carolina was forced to repeal such a law after nationwide backlash. A Texas toilet invoice failed to pass throughout this year’s particular session after an analogous outcry.

Looking forward

All of these shifts point out that 2018 shall be one other year of change for women in the political realm. 

“What we saw when it came to women running this year is a little window into what we might see come next year, both in state legislative races and also in congressional races,” stated Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

“People have been galvanized, particularly women,” stated Niambi Carter, assistant professor of political science at Howard University.

However, we’ll have to attend to see how a lot that curiosity and power interprets into precise feminine candidates. “The number of people expressing interest is unquestionably through the roof,” stated Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University. “It’s a lot different to actually throw your hat into the ring and run for Congress.”

Dan Keating contributed to this report.


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