This one shouldn’t come as a surprise at all. The Trump White House is evaluating whether or not they should shut down the White House Council on Women and Girls. Now, the fact that a Republican administration is considering eliminating this group whose mandate is to provide the president with advice related to the welfare of women and girls isn’t new. George W. Bush did the same with the Office for Women’s Initiative and Outreach when he took over from Bill Clinton. And Republicans aren’t exactly known for being champions of women’s issues. But as awful as a person that George W. Bush is (and we have to admit that he’s looking marginally better daily in comparison to Trump), sexual predator is not one of the labels we can use to describe him. It is truly fitting that under a serial sexual assaulter, the White House isn’t sure that this council is relevant any more.
“We want the input of the various agencies to understand the assets they have so that we make this office additive, not redundant,” said White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks.
She added that the White House “is evaluating the best positioning of this office going forward (and other legacy Obama offices)” and flagged other policy initiatives, including adviser Ivanka Trump’s push for paid family leave and STEM education for girls, that will address gender disparities.
Let’s get this out of the way right now so we don’t have to deal with it ever again—Ivanka Trump is no champion for everyday women and girls. There is nothing in her very privileged life or career that shows she’s remotely in touch with those of us mortals here on Earth. Sure, she has marketed products for women, books for women, videos for women. But this is because she wants women’s money, not because she cares about the conditions of actual women. She is the very same woman who did not have a maternity leave policy in her own company. Everything she does is vapid and lacks context about the struggles faced by poor women, women of color, disabled women, queer women—basically the struggle of any woman who has never had a billionaire for a father and has had to actually live, work and try to thrive in a sexist world.
Since Ivanka Trump joined her father’s administration, she’s been the most visible proponent for women’s issues. In April she traveled to Germany to appear alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel at a summit on women’s entrepreneurship. She was also credited with inspiring a World Bank women’s entrepreneurship fund, to which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced a $100 million starter donation while Ivanka Trump was there in May as part of the president's formal delegation.
But White House veterans say that’s no replacement for having a dedicated office with staff.
Interestingly, under Obama, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault developed out of the Council on Women and Girls. So presumably, that would also be on the chopping block if the council were to go (and let’s face it, do we really think the folks Trump has running things think this is a priority?). Of course, the Trump team has no desire to prevent rape from happening on college campuses. If anything, they actively court rapists as their base. They don’t see anything wrong with grabbing women by their private parts and their fans don’t either.
“I see no evidence, zero, that Donald Trump has anyone in his orbit to advocate for women and girls,” [said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women], who worked closely with the council to develop a provision in the Affordable Care Act that provides contraception to women without co-pay. “We need a real office that would really advocate.”
Sadly, under this administration we won’t get an office that advocates for the well-being of women and girls. Quite the opposite in fact. With their attempts to cut access to reproductive health care and rampant, open misogyny, we know they only see women as disposable objects. Enough already. Can we please go back to a president and administration that believe that women and girls are actual people?