President Donald Trump is evidently hell-bent on stifling women's rights and reversing strides made toward achieving gender equality.
In addition to reinstating the "global gag rule" — which strips federal funding for any international nongovernmental organization that provides abortion or mentions abortion as an option — Trump has proposed cutting maternity care from his healthcare plan and intends to eliminate the budget for the Office of Global Women’s Issues, which is the State Department team that promotes gender equality worldwide.
The State Department’s 15-page budget, first obtained by Foreign Policy, details the president’s plans to cut the office’s $8.25 million budget in 2018 down to zero.
Throughout the President Barack Obama administration, the office was instrumental in seeking justice for survivors of gender-based violence, The Daily Dot reports.
Programs launched by the office assisted in ending female genital mutilation for more than 65,000 girls, establishing vocational training and college scholarships for Afghan women, and curbing forced marriages in countries impacted by the Syrian refugee crisis.
President and Chief Executive of the Global Fund for Women Musimbi Kanyoro said in an interview with The Independent that Trump’s proposed cuts deliver a bleak message to the world about America’s commitment to women’s rights.
“[The office] took a leadership stance on women’s rights, amplified the voices of grassroots women’s leaders, and enacted important policies like the US global strategy to empower adolescent girls, which carried the potential to ensure more girls globally are educated, healthy, and free from violence,” Kanyoro said. “An action like this de-prioritizes women and girls and holds the threat that we will actually see global women’s rights recede rather than advance under the watch of this administration.”
Ironically, the news of this initiative coincides with Ivanka Trump being met with jeers and boos at the W20 summit in Germany on Tuesday, during which she attempted to praise her father’s support of women.
It’s bad enough that Trump has verbally degraded and disrespected women on numerous occasions, but he’s not even backing policies that aim to improve the quality of life for women. So, where is this supposed support?
Oxfam America is a Boston-based non-profit leading the criticism against Trump’s proposed cuts to the office. In the wise words of the group’s vice president for policy, Paul O’Brien: “Talk is cheap when you don’t fund the efforts you tout.”