Job Prospects for Women Under Trump's Presidency

By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: December 11, 2016

Women in the US had an unemployment rate of 4.3% in November, according to the latest employment situation report of the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

This shows an improvement from the 4.6% unemployment rate in October, with 71,369. In comparison with the data in November last year, the BLS reported an unemployment rate of 4.7%.

Here is part of the BLS data (not seasonally adjusted) on the employment situation of women:

November 2015 October 2016 November 2016

Civilian noninstitutional population 130,170,000 131,432,000 131,542,000
No. of women in the civilian labor force 74,082,000 74,791,000 74,823,000
No.of women employed 70,624,000 71,369,000 71,622,000
No. of women unemployed 3,458,000 3,423,000 3,201,000
Not in labor force 56,088,000 56,640,000 56,719,000
Participation rate 56.9% 56.9% 56.9%

As shown above, as there has been an increase in the number of women in the general population, so is the increase in the number of women joining the civilian labor force, as more women continue to actively look for work, are employed and are at or above the working age of 16. (Investopedia)

However, many women are worried about their future under a new government.

It may be too early to tell what excatly lies ahead for women when Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States; yet fears and anxiety abound. The sexist tone of Trump's campaign has fueled much concern especially as hate crimes were reported to surge after his poll victory.

A Fortune article reported on the result of a survey conducted bt InHerSight (“a company that allows women to anonymously rate their employers”) of 750 women professional – more than 3 out of 4 said they feel gloomier about their career prospects after the election of Donald Trump.
But there were also a few who said otherwise: just 8% of women said they feel better about their work future post-election.
<a href="">click here</a>

Hate crimes

In the week that followed the election, the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) gathered reports from different sources, such as news articles, social media, and direct submissions from the #ReportHate intake page. The SPLC also exerted means to verify each report.

There were 36 cases of anti-woman incidents, though not the top-ranked incident in terms of the number of reports gathered, in that one week from November 9-16. - <a href="">click here</a>

Here are other incidents in New York City involving Muslim women. The city's Mayor de Blasio
blamed Trump's statements during the campaign which the mayor said set the tone of hatred in the country. Gov. Cuomo stressed the importance of diversity.
“We do not allow intolerance or fear to divide us because we know diversity is our strength, and we are at our best when we stand united,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement Monday.
<a href="">click here</a>

To be fair, president-elect Donald Trump called on his supporters to stop and desist from intimidating or hurting others based on their ethnicity/race, religious belief, sexual orientation and gender.

As recent accounts show, women are still vulnerable to gender harrassment, discrimination and violence in the general society, as well as in the workplace.

Women Vulnerability in the Workplace

The recent outcry over the rape scene in the 1972 film, The Last Tango of Paris,” that starred Marlon Brandon and Maria Schnieder – after comments made by its director, Bernardo Bertolucci, way back in 2013, have resurfaced through a video clip released by the Spanish nonprofit El Mundo de Alycia in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. At the time, actress Maria Schnieder was only 19 years old.

Bertolucci was quoted as saying that he didn't tell her what was going in, as he wanted to film her reaction as a “girl, not as an actress.”

It was a clear case of sexual harassment; Ms. Schneider herself said in an interview with the Daily Mail in 2007 that the rape scene made her “feel humiliated and attacked by both Mr. Brando and Mr. Bertolucci.” She was also quoted as saying, “That scene wasn’t in the original script. The truth is, it was Marlon who came up with the idea,” […] “I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can’t force someone to do something that isn’t in the script, but at the time, I didn’t know that.” - <a href="">click here</a>

The EEOC states: It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person's sex. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. - <a href="">click here</a>

In 2015, there were about 26,396 (29.5%) charges of sex or gender-based discrimination filed with the EEOC in the FY 2015. This was a slight increase from the number of charges – 26,027 (29.3%) filed in the FY2014. - <a href="">click here</a>

Not all workplace victims of sexual discrimination or harassment are able to file charges though for various reasons, such as fear of retaliation by their employers, which is also against EEOC rules.
Thus, with all these, women are challenged to continue the struggle against gender discrimination, for equal employment opportunities and equal pay and compensation.
<a href="">click here</a>

For example, in the movie industry, Hollywood actresses still struggle having to be paid less than their male counterparts. Emmy Rossum is the latest star to voice out against this pay disparity. She recently has been reported to have “demanded equal pay for her work ahead of the show's Season 8, she is also allegedly looking to be paid more than co-star William H. Macy after years of being paid less.”
<a href="">click here</a>

Despite these challenges though, women can have something positive to look forward to, with regards to equal pay and compensation. The White House announced this week (Dec. 7th) new signatories to its initiative, the White House Equal Pay Pledge, which it launched in June - “encouraging companies from across the American economy to take action to advance equal pay.”

The 44 newly committed employers add to a total of more than one hundred companies and organizations collectively employing millions of Americans. - <a href="">click here</a>

These businesses have committed, among others, to:
* Play a critical role in closing the national pay gap
* Condct an annual company-wide gender pay analysis
* Review hiring and promotion processes to reduce unconscious bias and barriers
<a href="">click here</a>

Where to to seek Information and Redress

Women workers have recourse in the Equal Pay Act of the government which “requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal.” - <a href="">click here</a>

As to employment discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination– being turned down for a job, or bypassed for promotion – there are government resources, professional organizations and unions, as well as legal assistance groups that women can access
Some of these agencies and centers include among others:
* Departnment of Labor -
* Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -
* FMLA E-Advisor -
* Coalition of Labor Union Women -
* Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law/ Employment Discrimination Project
This lawyers' assistance group provides direct pro-bono representation for select, high-impact cases of employment discrimination. Also works with congress to ensure the enforcement of labor laws.
Go and check for more resource centers <a href="">click here</a>

Hope Lives On

The situation for now may look bleak and uncertain due to the atmosphere of hate fermented by the political divide; a sense of loss and despair may overwhelm women, as Hillary Clinton could have symbolized what women are capable of becoming.

As Hillary Clinton herself stated in her concession speech: “...I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think now."
She continued to say, “And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."
<a href="">click here</a>

Indeed. So the challenge continues. Hope lives on. It is safe to say that even with Donald Trump as president, and despite the sexist, misogynist attitudes attributed to him, employment opportunities for women will continue to grow, with more and more businesses committing themselves to diversity and inclusion.

As important too, women should recognize, appreciate their worth, stand up for their rights and dignity in society and in the workplace.

As an inspiration for girls and women, here is what President Obama shared:
In his interview in The New Yorker, President Obama shared with David Remnick what he told his own daughters, Sasha and Malia, in the aftermath of Trump’s win:
“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told me. “Societies and cultures are really complicated … This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop … You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”
A heartfelt pep talk for every young girl and woman. <a href="">click here</a>

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