Taking my seat: guess who opposes equal pay

Ivanka Trump isn't the hero we need

Ivanka Trump at a rally.

It’s been quite the summer. Nearly one year ago, our neighbours to the South realized a catastrophic mistake when the electoral college gave the Presidential race to a racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, ableist (or any of the myriad of other “ic” or “ist” terms that he most likely falls into) President. Since November 8, 2016, Americans, and the world have been paying for this mistake. President Donald Trump and his ongoing blunders have controlled the airwaves both in the US and abroad.

I was going to take some time to introduce this column and review the weekly summer atrocities of this Presidency. However, one recent issue has caught my eye. It’s a problem I think has run somewhat under the radar but one that nicely introduces this column for the female-empowered-bad-assery I hope for it to be.

Before I get to the issue at hand, I want to speak to the person who made this issue even more of a problem at the White House. No, it’s not Donald Trump this time. It’s one of his trusted advisers. The adviser America hoped would bring rationality, social issues and, above all else, feminism to the White House. Haven’t guessed it yet? I’m obviously not talking about Melania, so that leaves Ivanka. Yes, dear old Ivanka Trump.

Last week, Ivanka gave the White House the ‘green light’ to roll back Obama’s January 2016 policy that worked to close the gender pay gap.

Now, you’re correct in thinking Ivanka has no authority to introduce or take away policies. However, as ‘the feminist spokesperson’ at the White House, you and I both know Donald Trump probably listened to Lorde’s ‘Green Light’ thinking “I’m waiting for it/that green light/I want it”… to stop talking about the gender pay gap and allow white cis-men to thrive in this USA.

Anyways, this policy was fairly simple. As explained in Business Insider, it required companies with over 100 employees to collect data on how much they paid their workers, broken down by race, gender and ethnicity. This opens up companies to be more accountable to their employees and to the public.  It would allow the media and advocacy groups to compile newly public data and compare pay between companies. I think it would start a trend of requiring employers to put their money where their mouth is in terms of equity, hiring and pay. The argument opposing this policy and the reason Ivanka is against it? It’s too cumbersome and time-consuming for companies to collect this data.

Too cumbersome? Give me a break. Do you know what I think is cumbersome? Going through Twitter every morning and constantly seeing pictures of Donald Trump’s face along with more devastating news and offensive commentary from the President when I’m searching for pictures of puppies.

Obama’s policy is definitely not the sole solution to the gender pay gap but was a step in the right direction.

Now, when I first heard about Ivanka’s decision, I was mad and was inspired to do some research into the gender pay gap. What I discovered is that while white women make 80 per cent of what white men make, black women earn 65 per cent and Latina women earn 57 per cent of the full-time weekly pay of a white man, as reported in the Women’s Policy Research annual report.

I think we, as a society, often fail to look at this issue intersectionally. As women, we have to fight and stand up for all women. This policy began to address these issues by not only breaking down the pay gap by gender but also by race and ethnicity. Yes, I know this isn’t everything, but again, it was a start.

Back to Ivanka, not only did she give her blessing to get rid of the Obama administrations policy, she didn’t propose anything herself to improve the gap and justify her decision.

So, what are my takeaways from this? The first is when we talk about the gender pay gap, we can’t just assume people are talking about it from an intersectional lens. We need to keep fighting for all women, regardless of race or ethnicity, to make sure they have a seat at the table. The second lesson: Ivanka Trump isn’t our ally in the White House and people need to stop talking about her as if she is. In an administration that is mostly run by white older men, Ivanka could have been the female voice that was much needed in the White House, but her actions prove we can’t count on her in that way.


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