In the days leading up to Donald Trump’s inauguration, Fusion has been highlighting some of the issues most important to our readers and what to do to prepare for the incoming administration, which comes into power today. We’re wrapping up by focusing on women’s rights, in a show of support for the women and allies marching at the nation’s capital, across the country, and around the world.
Trump’s treatment of women was adversarial throughout his campaign, even before the now infamous Access Hollywood tapes leaked. There were his attacks on high-profile women, from Rosie O’Donnell and Megyn Kelly to Alicia Machado and a college student. There were all the women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault (though he claimed they were too unattractive for him to want to do such a thing). There was the not-so-latent sexism in his treatment of Hillary Clinton, which brought out the seemingly worst from his supporters. But even if we wrote all of that off, ascribed it “locker room talk,” even if we pretended none of that mattered, there’s still evidence to suggest that the next four years could be disastrous for women under a Trump presidency.
Reproductive rights are under attack all over the country in states under Republican control. With Trump in power, a GOP-led Congress is now looking to defund Planned Parenthood. Trump himself was once very much pro-choice, but now seems to tailor his stance depending on the audience. His wishy-washiness, though, is drowned out by his veep’s strident anti-abortion views. Mike Pence has a long record of battling a woman’s right to choose, but two particular lowlights include closing the only Planned Parenthood with an HIV testing center in Scott County, Indiana (paving the way for an HIV outbreak there), and co-sponsoring a bill that only allowed women who suffered from “forcible rape” to receive federal money for their abortions.
With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, women may lose access to free birth control and have fewer reproductive care options altogether.
But women’s rights extend far beyond reproductive rights. Trump has made troubling comments about women in the workplace, saying “putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing” and implying that women who get sexually harassed could simply work elsewhere. His own personal history would suggest that addressing sexual assault wouldn’t be an administration priority, as it was with former Vice President Joe Biden. In fact, the Trump administration is reportedly looking to cut a federal violence against women program. And while Ivanka Trump deserves some credit for putting forward a maternity leave plan on her father’s behalf, that plan neglects to include men—including gay couples—and wouldn’t include women in same-sex couples if they’re not carrying the child. Ivanka has also attributed the wage gap to childcare—not sexism—casting serious doubt that she or her father will advance the fight for equal pay.
Planned Parenthood, long in the crosshairs of the GOP establishment, is accustomed to punching back, though this administration brings one of its biggest challenges to date. There are also independent abortion clinics and abortion funds around the country. NARAL Pro-Choice America has also been on the forefront of the reproductive rights battle.
The Women’s March on Washington going down this Saturday is bringing together a broad, intersectional coalition of groups supporting women’s rights—and the rights of people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and indigenous peoples. Activists Janet Mock and Roxane Gay (author of Bad Feminist) nail what the modern-day feminist movement looks like.
Other prominent women’s orgs include the National Organization for Women and the National Women’s Law Center, both of which champion a range of initiatives dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls, and Hollaback, which advances gender justice by targeting harassment.
The good news is there’s a lot you can do to help. If you haven’t yet, donate to Planned Parenthood or NARAL Pro-Choice America—maybe consider putting in a donation in Mike Pence’s name so he’ll get the receipt. Volunteer or contribute to any of the “Nasty Women” art shows happening across the world; all donations go to Planned Parenthood. You can also donate to independent clinics and abortion funds, which will be all the more important as the GOP tries to whittle down access to reproductive care. To get your boots on the ground, consider becoming an abortion clinic escort and protect women practicing their constitutional right to make choices about their bodies, their health, and their lives.
Become a member of the National Organization of Women; you can also donate to them or the National Women’s Law Center. View their initiatives here. If you have the time, you can volunteer for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, by helping with their hotline or fundraising. Check out Volunteer Match if you want to help with local orgs and causes.
On a personal level, make sure you contact your primary care physician and your gynecologist and review your options for birth control as we head into this uncertain time—an IUD may be your best bet going forward, or you can ask your gynecologist to prescribe a larger supply of birth control than what they typically give you. If you have the extra cash, stocking up on Plan B pills (currently available over the counter) isn’t a bad idea. And don’t forget to get tested either!
To help our young girls (and boys, for that matter), see whether your local school offers comprehensive sex education and, if they don’t, lobby them to introduce it into their curriculum. Another small act with a huge potential impact: Check if the curriculum as a whole is gender inclusive. Do class syllabi and reading lists include work from female authors? Are women centered in history lessons, or are they footnotes? What about women of color? Engaging children in women’s rights and gender justice is one way to combat a corrosive culture—in fact, here’s one innovative, crowd-funded project you don’t need an IRL classroom for.
Finally, as we say often (but once again, with feeling) call up your local representatives—their numbers should be saved in your phone by now. But go one step further: Think about the baddest, nastiest women in your life and ask them if they’ve ever considered running for office. Despite what you've heard, the future is still female. Consult She Should Run for tips, and grab this country back.
Reading list/resource links:
- Donald Trump’s ever shifting positions on abortion (The Washington Post)
- Why Pence is a scary option for women and public health (Forbes)
- How Mike Pence enabled an HIV outbreak (Huffington Post)
- What will Ivanka Trump do about equal pay and childcare? (International Business Times)
- The Women’s March on Washington just released an incredibly radical feminist platform (Fusion)
- You OK, Sis? Why Those Three Words Can Save a Woman’s Life (takepart)
- National Organization of Women
- She Should Run
- Center for Reproductive Rights
- Sexual Information and Education Council of the U.S.
- Know Your IX
- Nasty Women Exhibition
With Trump officially our president, revisit, bookmark, and share our How to Survive Trump’s America series. Do your part to make the world better, and more just.