This Week in the War on Women: Report #1

The War on Women is back, and in full force under the Trump administration. We refuse to go back, and we refuse to let the administration quietly dismantle the progress we’ve made. We are watching. 

Welcome to the War on Women Report.

Molly Adams

Sunday 8/27

+ On top of failing to condemn neo-Nazism and white supremacy, President Trump endorsed Wisconsin sheriff David Clarke’s new book via tweet on Sunday. Clarke is facing multiple lawsuits for allegations of abuse and neglect, leading to the death of two prisoners in the Milwaukee County jail. Clarke is expected to join Trump’s administration, though the position he will take is still unclear.

Monday 8/28

+ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has requested permission from the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) to destroy records related to its detention operations. Should permission be granted, ICE would begin to systematically eliminate documents from 11 categories—including those related to solitary confinement, sexual assault and deaths of people in custody—effectively shredding the records of an institution that Trump plans to increase in size and scope.

Tuesday 8/29

+ Trump scrapped an equal pay rule that would have required businesses of 100 employees or larger to provide data on how much their workers are paid—broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity. The Obama-era rule made it easier for employees and government agencies to single-out instances of pay discrimination. Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center calls the latest move “an all-out attack on equal pay.”

+ As part of a systematic dismantling of Title IX, Candice Jackson—the current head of the Office for Civil Rights—has expressed her intent to rescind a 2011 directive that delineates Title IX guidelines for schools to follow when students report cases of sexual assault on campus. This concrete approach to tackling the campus rape epidemic, which has been celebrated widely by survivors and advocates alike, will be replaced through a slow-moving process that Jackson calls “notice-and-comment,” in which the public offers suggestions on how schools should handle sexual assault. In the end though, the final say will be left in the hands of the Department of Education, currently run by Betsy DeVos.

Wednesday 8/30

+ In a sly maneuver, the Trump administration removed a sexual assault report from the official White House website. This report, titled Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, used compiled data to help explain why responses to rape and sexual violence are inadequate and ultimately offer suggestions to the US government for effective action aimed at mitigating assault and helping victims. The removal went unnoticed until civil rights attorney Alexandra Brodsky went looking for information regarding the impact of sexual violence. Brodsky tweeted about the absent report on Wednesday, linking to a version of the report on the anti-sexual violence youth organization KnowYourIX.

Betsy DeVos has hired Julian Schmoke, a former official at a for-profit college, as head of the Department of Education’s so-called enforcement unit, which investigates for-profit college fraud. The for-profit college, DeVry University has gained notoriety for its unprecedented $100 million settlement over allegations of misleading students about job prospects. This latest move by DeVos has many staff members at the Education Department concerned about the enforcement unit’s potentiality of holding for-profit colleges, which exploit gender income inequality, accountable.

Thursday 8/31

+ Trump refused to commit to the Obama administration’s decision to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill, referring to the plan to honor an American abolitionist and feminist icon an act of “political correctness.”

+ The Trump administration took further steps to weaken the Affordable Care Act, calling for deep slashes to programs that promote next year’s open enrollment period. According to officials from Health and Human Services, spending will go from $100 million in 2017 down to $10 million in 2018, which is expected to complicate the enrollment process and in turn disproportionately impact cash poor and elderly women who depend on ease of enrollment to keep health services accessible and affordable.

Friday 9/1

+Trump announced that his administration will be rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects roughly 800,000 youth and teens from deportation and provides them with access to valid driver’s licenses, work permits, and school enrollment. The Obama-era immigration policy has been hailed as a massive victory since its inception in 2012, freeing Americans from perpetual fear of deportation. Texas alone is home to 120,000 DACA recipients, and to target these Americans in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is unconscionable—according to estimations from the Center for American Progress, the Texas economy would lose   roughly $1.6 billion annually should 100,000 DREAMers be deported.

Further Reporting

+ Read Amy Siskind’s write-up on Week 42 in the Trump administration.

+ Read Melissa McEwan’s daily round-up of acts of resistance in the age of Trump from this week.

Jessica Merino is an editorial intern at Ms.

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Jessica Merino is a former Ms. editorial intern.