Editor’s Note: Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is an author, radio host of “Breaking Through,” and executive director and co-founder of MomsRising.org, a nonprofit national organization that supports policies to improve family economic security. The views expressed are her own, and the organization is listed for identification purposes only.
Last week, Ivanka Trump advocated on behalf of women and mothers at the Republican National Convention
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner: Donald Trump holds opposite view, historically discriminating and disparaging women
To say Donald Trump does not have the best reputation when it comes to women is a huge understatement. He has a history of paying his female employees less than his male employees. Trump has also disparaged women of all backgrounds, referring to them as “disgusting animals,” “fat pigs,” “slobs,” “dogs” and other disrespectful and bullying epithets.
And yet, last week, Ivanka Trump stood up for women and mothers at the Republican National Convention, arguing in favor of equal wages for equal work, improved child care structures and paid family leave. But don’t be fooled. While Ivanka was right about these policies, her dad has taken the opposite approach: Flat-out discrimination against women and mothers.
If Ivanka wanted to support the candidate with a decades long record of supporting the very policies she raised at the RNC, then she’d be casting her vote for Hillary Clinton in November.
The reality is that Ivanka is not Donald, and Donald is not Ivanka. There should be no confusion between where Ivanka stands and where her father stands. After all, actions speak louder than words, and a recent report found the Trump’s campaign has paid men on his campaign staff one-third more than women, while the Clinton campaign has offered equal compensation.
Despite what Ivanka, who’s been a donor to many Democratic campaigns in the past, says, her father does not represent or hold the same values – and this extends far beyond campaign compensation. Donald has a proven track record of actively working against women.
Consider just a few of his public statements. In 1994, Trump said in an interview with ABC News, that “putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing.” In 2005, he wrote on the Trump University blog that Trump Organization had no glass ceilings left for women to shatter. Female employees merely “perceived” the “glass ceiling looming overhead,” he wrote. And most recently, at a campaign event in 2015, Trump dismissed a child care policy question, saying, “It’s a big subject, darling.”
Who will speak at the Democratic National Convention?
But Trump’s blatant sexism and bias against working women isn’t just insulting, it’s detrimental to business and the economy. Study after study shows that the more women in corporate leadership, the higher the companies’ earnings.
Furthermore, given the fact the U.S. labor force is now almost 50% women, family economic security policies – such as paid family leave, fair pay, affordable and high quality child care and an end to pregnancy discrimination – are more important than ever to the health and well-being of American families, as well as to our national economy. For decades, there has been a growing movement to support and advance these policies – and one of its biggest allies, if not proponents, has been Clinton herself.
Clinton not only talks the talk, she has walked the walk. In addition to paying her staff equal wages, she has advanced the fight for equal pay on a national level. She was a lead sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which was signed into law in 2009, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who discuss salaries with colleagues and require employers to prove that pay differences exist for legitimate, job-related reasons.
We cannot forget these contributions and others that Clinton has made in the battle for women’s economic security. But it’s also a battle Clinton is not done fighting. In the first Democratic debate, she remarked, “I believe in equal pay for equal work for women, and I also believe it’s about time we had paid family leave for American families and join the rest of the world.” In addition, her campaign website features concrete policy solutions to address affordable and high quality child care, paid family leave and fair pay.
And Clinton has her work cut out for her. In 2015, women working full-time earned just 79 cents to every dollar that men earned, with mothers and women of color experiencing even greater wage disparity. These numbers don’t just point to an injustice – they indicate an economy that’s not operating with optimal efficiency. Studies show that pay parity would boost our GDP by 3% because women are not only half the labor force, they are also the primary consumers in our consumer-fueled economy.
But perhaps the most convincing argument for addressing these gender inequalities is best illustrated by sharing the stories behind the numbers. They demonstrate the human impact and give a window into how unfair pay is a daily reality for far too many women, including Felicia Willems, who shared this experience with me:
“As a young woman, I experienced blatant wage discrimination while working at a technical support center for a large retail corporation. I was hired to work the exact same job as my brother-in-law, and after talking to him discovered that I was being paid about $4 an hour less than him to do the exact same job. I went on to find out that all of the men at work, working the same job, with the same amount of experience, were making $4 an hour more than me – and, as it turns out, the women were making the lower wage like me.”
In November, if you want to lift our economy, stand with women like Felicia and advocate for the policies that Ivanka highlighted in her RNC speech last week, then it is clear which candidate you must support: Hillary Clinton.