By Monica Mitrovic
In 2014, former President Barack Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order intended to safeguard workers’ rights, especially women’s rights and equal pay. However, on March 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order revoking Obama’s Fair Pay order.
“Seeing as women are already treated unfairly, Trump’s just making it worse by revoking the order so I don’t agree with what he’s doing,” Oscar Bocanegra, a Brookhaven Early College High School student, said.
Obama signed the executive order after a 2010 Government Accountability Office investigation revealed some federal contractors did not comply with labor laws but still received millions from taxpayer dollars, according to NBC. The order’s purpose was to ensure women were paid equally to their male counterparts with paycheck transparency.
Paycheck transparency requires companies with federal contracts to report pay scales and salaries, among other details, according to NBC, Obama’s Fair Pay order also protected women in the workplace with a ban on forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination claims.
“Arbitrations are private proceedings with secret filings and private attorneys, and they often help hide sexual harassment claims,” Maya Raghu, director of workplace equality at the National Women’s Law Center, said in an interview with NBC.
And because of Trump’s revocation order, federal contractors can now manhandle their employees into secrecy again, affecting victims’ emotional and mental states, hiding the truth of sexual misconduct and leaving the scales of justice to collect dust in the corner. Although federal contractors can legally hold these private proceedings, arbitrations could lead to unfair handling of complaints. Employers may even find some underhanded loophole to retaliate against victims and possibly bully them to resign.
Women are now even more susceptible to workplace abuse. They have to face this abuse and discrimination on top of a lower salary. A 2016 analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute revealed women make about 83 cents to a man’s dollar, according to NBC.
While many things have changed for the better for women over the past 50 years, there’s still much to be done. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, if change continues to occur at a slow pace, equal pay will not be reached until 2059 and women of color will wait even longer. Black and Hispanic women will have to wait until the years 2124 and 2248, respectively, to achieve equal pay.
Today, sexism and misogyny still run rampant. If anything, they have only increased nationally alongside hateful rhetoric. Despite sexual misconduct allegations, presidents can still win elections.
On March 17, the president covertly shared his sexism with the rest of the world. In a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump seemingly refused to shake Merkel’s hand at her request during a photo opportunity in the Oval Office, according to The New York Times. Strangely enough, the president has enthusiastically shaken hands with male world leaders, but in this one instance, he did not seem to hear Merkel’s request.
On April 3, Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcomed King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan to the White House, according to People magazine. The two couples had a brief meeting in the Oval Office for a photo opportunity though the women were not given seats. The queen and first lady were arranged to stand behind their sitting husbands.
It’s 2017, women should not have to face these problems and should have a say in what they want for their bodies. But, sadly, it seems like women will have to endure their sufferings for the rest of time, or at least until people change their biased views and treat women fairly and equally.