Just days after Donald J. Trump proclaimed April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, he gave a character reference for Fox TV host Bill O’Reilly, alleged to having waged years of sexual harassment, saying “I don’t think he did anything wrong.”
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump said, adding, “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled…I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” (More at Huffington Post).
It is almost as ironic as Melania Trump declaring her mission as First Lady to be combating cyber-bullying, or as the allegations levied against Trump, himself, confirmed with his own boasts.
NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH, 2017
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
At the heart of our country is the emphatic belief that every person has unique and infinite value. We dedicate each April to raising awareness about sexual abuse and recommitting ourselves to fighting it. Women, children, and men have inherent dignity that should never be violated.
According to the Department of Justice, on average there are more than 300,000 instances of rape or other sexual assault that afflict our neighbors and loved ones every year. Behind these painful statistics are real people whose lives are profoundly affected, at times shattered, and who are invariably in need of our help, commitment, and protection.
As we recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we are reminded that we all share the responsibility to reduce and ultimately end sexual violence. As a Nation, we must develop meaningful strategies to eliminate these crimes, including increasing awareness of the problem in our communities, creating systems that protect vulnerable groups, and sharing successful prevention strategies.
My Administration, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence. This includes supporting victims, preventing future abuse, and prosecuting offenders to the full extent of the law. I have already directed the Attorney General to create a task force on crime reduction and public safety. This task force will develop strategies to reduce crime and propose new legislation to fill gaps in existing laws.
Prevention means reducing the prevalence of sexual violence on our streets, in our homes, and in our schools and institutions. Recent research has demonstrated the effectiveness of changing social norms that accept or allow indifference to sexual violence. This can be done by engaging young people to step in and provide peer leadership against condoning violence, and by mobilizing men and boys as allies in preventing sexual and relationship violence. Our families, schools, and communities must encourage respect for women and children, who are the vast majority of victims, and promote healthy personal relationships. We must never give up the fight against the scourge of child pornography and its pernicious effects on both direct victims and the broader culture. We recommit ourselves this month to establishing a culture of respect and appreciation for the dignity of every human being.
There is tremendous work to be done. Together, we can and must protect our loved ones, families, campuses, and communities from the devastating and pervasive effects of sexual assault. In the face of sexual violence, we must commit to providing meaningful support and services for victims and survivors in the United States and around the world.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2017 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. I urge all Americans, families, law enforcement, health care providers, community and faith-based organizations, and private organizations to support survivors of sexual assault and work together to prevent these crimes in their communities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, US Senator and the first woman to run for President on a major party ticket, in her first sit down interview since the bruising election, nonetheless encouraged others to pursue political office, but warned to be prepared for the personal attacks, bullying. “Take criticism seriously but not personally.” She said that the Comey letter, the Russian hacking and disinformation campaign were factors in her defeat, but so was there an element of misogynism. As always, she spoke out intelligently and substantively, saying that the US should take action against Assad in Syria for the war crime of gassing civilians (later that night, Trump launched a bombing raid on the Syrian airfield where the gas attacks were launched from).
She also spoke out against the actions this administration, now in full control of right-wing Republicans, has already taken against women. “The targeting of women is absolutely beyond any political agenda’,” Clinton said. Referring to that photo of white men sitting around a table with Trump talking about removing maternity care from mandated health coverage and defunding Planned Parenthood, she said incredulously, “maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception?” And on the Trump administration’s punitive global gag order that goes beyond anything that Reagan or Bush did to defund international agencies by losing all funding if an agency helps a woman who will die if she bares another child.
“This is just not the right and moral position for the United States to take this is in our national security interest. The more we support women the more we support democracy, the more we backhand terrorism and fundamentalism that can creep into countries. So women’s issues are national security issues.”
Here are highlights from her interview with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, in which she discusses frankly the election, her loss, her future, Putin and Russia’s unprecedented interference in the US election, and Syria (See the full interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI0iLIwfa2w) – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features
I’m hopeful that the Congress will pull together and realize that because of the success the Kremlin feels it’s had they’re not going to go away. So whatever party you are whatever business you run whatever concerns you have, if we don’t take action together to hold whoever was involved accountable they will be back time and time again. Look from my prospective, I know Putin. I’ve sat with him. This is somebody who plays the long game. He plays 3-dimensional chess, he’s always trying to figure out how to advantage himself, his oligarchy companions, and his country in that order. He is very much focused on He wants to destabilizing EU , NATO, the US, real democracies. People have asked me, why did he do that you? I don’t think it’s too complicated. I think he had his desire to destabilize us and others. He’s not exactly fond of strong women so you add that together and that’s pretty much where it leads. Although he did shake hands with me (laughs and applause)
HRC on white men sitting around the table with Trump discussing removing maternity care from mandated health coverage, defunding Planned Parenthood: “The things that come out of some of these men’s mouths..” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9QbpXjr02Y)
The things that come out of some of these men’s mouths like why do we have to cover maternity care? Oh I don’t know, maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception? (laughs and applause)
Well I’m currently writing a book (APPLAUSE) where I spend a lot of time wrestling with this. As you might guess I’ve thought about it more than once. I don’t know that there is one answer. Let’s be clear in any campaign there’s many different crosscurrents and events and some have greater impact than others. But it is fair to say that certainly misogyny played a role and certainly that has to be admitted. Why and what the reasons were I’m trying to parse out myself.
I would just say this: there is a constant struggle, and not just women, women & men, in a time of rapid change like the one we are living through between something that is different, that may hold out even possible positive consequences and something that is familiar and something that is really first and foremost about security of what you have right now.
I think in this election there was a very real struggle between what is viewed as change that is welcomed and exciting to so many Americans and change which is worrisome and threatening to so many others. Layer on the first woman president over that and I think some people, women included, had real problems. It’s fair to say that President Obama, my husband, they also really struggled for white votes as many as they could get. So we have to do a better job in speaking to and with people who are on the downside of the change equation and wondering what do we have to offer and why should they vote for us as opposed to well I don’t agree with him, not sure I really approve of him but he looks like somebody that has been a president before so why do I want to add more change or more potential anxiety to my life. We’re just going to go and hope he does a little bit of what he says and I think that’s where a lot of people are.
00:15 I am really focused on just doing some things that I think I can help make a difference with. Like the supporting of young people and getting more women into politics. I very much want to help Democrats take back the congress (applause).
00:40 I have no plans. I have no plans at all other than trying to find some interesting things to do, trying to support other people to pursue their interest, spend time with my grandchildren which is a great joy. I’m not making plans to do anything.
01:10 I am looking at doing interesting things I don’t think that will ever include running for office again as interesting as I find that to be because I think you can have a big influence. I think that there are lots of ways to make difference to work in all sectors in of our society, the for-profits, the not-for-profits. I am looking for ways to help people live their own lives better, tell their own stories better.
01:38 I’ve always been really focused on kids and find some good ways to help organizations that are helping particularly kids that faced difficulties in their lives. I am passionate about the unfinished business of the 21st century, the rights and the opportunities for women and girls so I think I have a lot to do.
START: First let me say that, I don’t take any pleasure in seeing the kind of chaotic functioning … I thought I was going to win and I had a really good transition operation going. Because I understood. Remember the debates, remember that one point in the debate when my opponent was ridiculing me yet again for having prepared for the debate? And I said yes I didprepare for the debate and I’ll tell you something else I prepared for and that’s being president.
00:48 It’s the hardest job you can imagine. I thought we would’ve been prepared we would’ve been ready to move on arrange events we worked so hard on policies and already lining up personal and the likes. So clearly that wasn’t well prepared for the incoming administration and I think they’re going through some very public growing pains.
01:18 But here’s what I don’t understand. I don’t understand the commitment to hurt so many people that this administration this White House seems to be pursuing. There’s so many examples in just the first 100 days: the ban on people coming into our country. Yes it was originally aimed at 7 not 6 countries but it really set a chilling effect across the world. Not just to Muslims but all kinds of people that are saying well wait a minute don’t you still have Lady Liberty in the New York harbor aren’t we still the land of opportunity and freedom. It had a terrible impact.
02:11 And then of course what they did or tried to do with the health care bill. Which I will confess l..having listened to them discuss repeal and replace for 8 or 7 years now, they had no clue what that meant. I don’t know if any of them read the bill, read the law, understand how it worked. It was so obvious. Healthcare is complicated. They don’t know what to do. I do admit that was somewhat gratifying (cheers applause).
03:03 The targeting of women which is what’s going on is absolutely beyond any political agenda. There is something else happening here. The global gag rule bounces back between Republicans and Democrats, but the way they wrote it this time is not like Bush, and not like what Reagan did. This time, [the gag rule] would remove all aid if there is some kind of alleged breach because you provide family planning services but somebody says to a woman desperate to get an abortion because she’s told she’ll die if she tried to bare another child, if you try to help her then you lose everything.
04:00 You follow up that with [defunding] UN population fund. Which I’ve seen… the impact that those dollars have in saving women and children’s lives, in helping women having a better shot at a future because maybe she can get contraception and not have her first child at 14 and now has had 6 or 7 and is now 27 and she’s desperately trying to prevent another pregnancy and she needs it.
04:35 This is just not the right and moral position for the United States to take this is in our national security interest. The more we support women the more we support democracy, the more we backhand terrorism and fundamentalism that can creep into countries. So women’s issues are national security issues.
I’m doing pretty well all things considered. Aftermath of the election was so devastating and everything that is come to light in the days and weeks since have been also troubling. So I just have had to make up my mind that was I was going to get out of bed and yes I was going to go for long walks in the woods. I was going to see my grandchildren a lot and spend time with my family and my friends that have rally around me in an amazing way. We’ve had lots of fun, adventures, long nights talking and laughing. So I’m ok I will put it this way. As a person I’m ok. As an American I’m pretty worried. So I will take off my person hat and put on my citizen hat and there’s a lot to be concerned about.
00:56 I was Secretary of State I teamed up with Dave Petreaeus then director of CIA, Leon Panetta Secretary of Defense to present a plan for us to move more aggressively to support protestors to try to provide some back up in what was I thought likely to turn out to be a very one-sided battle. This was before ISIS came to public awareness for a caliphate and they’re setting up headquarters in Rocca. I believed that and I’ve said this repeatedly that we should’ve done more at that point.
01:49 Now, I’m the first to say these are not easy decisions. That’s why you want to get the best information you can from the best advisers you can and really drill down into this whatever the situation is.
02:03 I left the government. I then did promote a no fly zone. I still believe we should’ve done a no fly zone. I think we should’ve been more willing to confront Assad. Because remember the Russians didn’t get in at first. Iranian help was pretty much on the ground with the so called revolutionary guard force. They were enlisting Hezbollah units to fight on the ground because there was a really fight going on. But Assad had an air force, that’s the cause of most civilian deaths. As we have seen over the years and as we saw over the last few days. I really believe that we should’ve and still should take out his air field and prevent him from using them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.
03:20 I wish the international community at large had been able to reign this in. I’ve spent a lot of time with the Russians, the Arab states, the Gulf states, and I actually had worked out an agreement for a transition in June of 2012 in Geneva. We hammered it out all day long, the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov actually agreed to it and it was calling for a technocratic government and in the easing out of Assad. I know that he had, he left our meeting. I know he went to his embassy, I know he asked for guidance and he came back and agreed. So it lasted for about 24 hours because basically Assad said I’m not going anywhere.
04:15 Part of the reason Assad has been so dug in is because some of you who follow Syria follow history, his father destroyed a city that was a hot bed of opposition to his rule. Literally massacred more than 10,000 people and almost ceded the ground so that nothing would ever grow there again. That was the impact that it was meant to have. So the people around Assad that was never the person that the people expected to succeed his father thought it would be older brother so you know was viewed as a much tougher character. His brother gets killed in a car wreck he gets summoned home and given the responsibility of being the dictator of Syria.
05:22 Why do I tell you all of this. Because it mattes if you know a little bit more about that’s going on in the minds that are your adversaries.He is absolutely a prisoner of his families expectations his dead fathers looming presence and his delusion that I believe he now can pass lied detector about that everybody that opposes him is a terrorist. That’s how Putin thinks. Putin has basically weighted in particularly with air power to support this fight to the death policy that Assad has.
06:11 I think that we have to try change the dynamic and all through the campaign I would say I’m for a no fly zone and immediately whether it was in the primary or the general election people would ask aren’t you afraid of Russians? It’s time the Russians were afraid of us because we were going to stand up for the human rights, the dignity and the future of Syrian people and I actually had a lot of confidence that I could say to Putin and his team look whether you’re with us or against us with this no fly zone and here’s what we’re going to do. We don’t want any confrontation with you. We cannot let this massacre continue and the consequences that are effecting the entire region so I feel pretty strongly where we are now and what happened in these last days with a neurotoxin sarin gas is just …
07:15 Let me just say this. There will be people who say its not your fight, we don’t care, what difference does it make, we’re not involved. First of all we are an interconnected interdependent world unlike any we’ve been in history before because of mobility because of communications so what happens in other place can very have an impact on you.
07:38 But the world took a position after the first World War who’s 100th anniversary of starting we will be commemorating and we took a stand against the use of chemical weapons. We have a whole unit attached to the United Nations that is devoted to preventing chemical weapons from falling into the wrong hands to be used.
08:11 It is important we take a strong stance against chemical weapons and we thought with the deal that the Obama administration negotiated that we got rid of their stocks but who knows whether they hid some or bought more we don’t know. We just know the impact. It’s in our interest, we have to start recognizing norms of behavior in our own country and globally are just as important to keeping peace and preventing atrocities as any law that is written down. People have to know that they will be held accountable as war criminals as committing crimes against humanity if they engage in these kinds of aggressive violent acts (applause).
Secretary Clinton was introduced by Samantha Bee of Full Frontal:
At a rally in Blackwood, New Jersey, Hillary Clinton criticized Donald Trump for his reckless tax plan that would hand trillions in tax breaks to billionaires and corporations at the expense of working families and seniors. Clinton also questioned why Trump refuses to release his own tax returns – a standard disclosure that’s been made by every major presidential candidate in the last forty years.
“He has released what he calls his tax plan, and it very clearly is his plan, because Donald Trump’s tax plan was written by a billionaire for billionaires,” Clinton said. “He wants to spend $3 trillion – that’s with a T – $3 trillion on tax cuts for people like him who make over a million dollars. That is $100,000 every month for multi-millionaires. Now, to put that in perspective, $3 trillion is enough money to make Social Security and Medicare solvent for the next 75 years. It’s enough money to put millions of Americans to work to repair and modernize all of our country’s infrastructure up to world-class standards…
“Now, think about this. The typical family in America earns $54,000 a year. It would take that family 24 years of work to earn what Donald Trump’s tax plan will hand out to people like him in just one year. That is no way to create good jobs with rising incomes for the vast majority of Americans, is it? And the gentleman who called out, what about his tax plan, I hope you’ll keep asking that.
“And what about his taxes? So we’ll get around to that, too, because when you run for president, especially when you become the nominee that is kind of expected. My husband and I have released 33 years of tax returns. We got eight years on our website right now. So you got to ask yourself, why doesn’t he want to release them? Yeah, well, we’re going to find out.”
Clinton has released her tax returns every year since 1977. The last eight years of Clinton’s tax returns are available on her website, here
Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, participated in a Hillary for America press call to criticize how Donald Trump’s economic policies are too big a risk for American women and families. From his plan to give massive tax breaks to millionaires to his opposition to a federal minimum wage floor, Donald Trump is the wrong choice for women and families, they insisted.
“Make no mistake: Trump’s divisive comments about women’s health are a direct threat to our dignity and economic security. But these ideas are not the only risk a Trump presidency would pose for the economic future of women and families around this country,” said Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Trump’s tax plan “gives $3 trillion to millionaires, that’s enough to make Social Security and Medicare solvent for 75 years. Women, who rely disproportionately on Social Security, can’t afford such an irresponsible giveaway.”
Donald Trump still opposes raising the minimum wage because he has maintained, “wages are too high,” and recently said he doesn’t favor a federal floor for the minimum wage, which could leave many workers subject to a lower minimum wage. At a time when two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, this issue is critical to working families.
The trillions in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires and corporations laid out in Donald Trump’s tax plan would be an enormous boon for the top one percent of earners, made at the expense of working families, seniors and the health of our economy. His plan would give $3 trillion over 10 years or more than 35% of its tax breaks to millionaires. That giveaway represents enough money which could go to ensure Medicare and Social Security’s solvency for the next 75 years, repair our ailing infrastructure, or raise every person now living in poverty up to the poverty line. Trump would give multi-millionaires in the top 0.1% like himself a raise of $1.3 million a year, or $100,000 a month, Tanden noted.
“I’m with Hillary because I know that she’s the only candidate who will make fighting for women and families her priority. I’ve worked with her on the macro issues, and I’ve worked with her on the macaroni and cheese issues, and I know she will be a great president. She’s already a great champion for women. The presumptive Republican nominee offers a different vision,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski.
Clinton has continually maintained ““Women’s issues are family issues, economic issues, and crucial to our future competitiveness.
“Too often, these are called women’s issues. Well, I am a proud lifelong fighter for women’s issues, because I firmly believe what’s good for women is good for America. … As far as I’m concerned, any issue that affects women’s lives and futures is a women’s issue.”
Clinton has pledged to:
Ensure equal pay for women.
Defend women’s health and reproductive rights against attacks.
Fight for paid family leave and affordable child care.
America has taken tremendous strides when it comes to expanding opportunity for women—but our fight is far from over. Women still earn less than men on the job. Many women still face barriers to entering and advancing in the workforce, and the ability of women to make their own health decisions is under assault. Hillary believes that issues that affect women’s lives are not just “women’s issues”—they are family issues, they are economic issues, and they are crucial to our future competitiveness. She has been fighting for women and girls her entire career, and she’s just getting started.
Work to close the pay gap.Women earn less than men across our economy—and women of color often lose out the most. Hillary will promote pay transparency across the economy and work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act—a bill she introduced as senator—to give women the tools they need to fight workplace discrimination.
Fight for paid family leave.No one should have to choose between keeping their job and taking care of a sick family member, and no parent should have to go back to work right after they welcome their newborn baby. A quarter of all women in America return to work within ten days of having a child because they have no paid leave. The United States is the only country in the developed world without guaranteed paid leave of any kind. That has to change.
Make quality, affordable childcare a reality for families.We need to recognize that quality, affordable child care is not a luxury—it’s a growth strategy. Women are now the primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children. But out-of-pocket child care costs have soared by nearly 25 percent during the past decade. We need to make investing in child care a national priority—including supporting on-campus child care and scholarships to meet the needs of the nearly 5 million American college students who are also parents.
Increase the minimum wage.The current minimum wage isn’t enough for Americans to meet their basic needs. Because women represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers, many women are living that reality every day. A higher minimum wage will help close the gender pay gap, lift millions of women out of poverty, and have a ripple effect across our economy. While we work to raise the federal minimum wage, Hillary will also support state and local efforts to go above the federal floor.
Defend and enhance Social Security.Hillary believes Social Security is an American success story. She is committed to defending it from Republican attacks and enhancing it to meet new realities—especially for women. The poverty rate among widowed and divorced women who are 65 years or older is nearly 70 percent higher than for the elderly population as a whole. This unacceptably high poverty rate is partly due to an unfair policy: Two-breadwinner families can face steep reductions in their benefits when a spouse dies. It’s time to change that.
Protect women’s health and reproductive rights.Women’s personal health decisions should be made by a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor. Hillary will stand up to Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, which would restrict access to critical health care services, like cancer screenings, contraception, and safe, legal abortion. She will fight to protect the Affordable Care Act, which bans insurance companies from discriminating against women and guarantees 47 million women and counting access to preventive care.
Confront violence against women.One in five women in America is sexually assaulted while in college. Twenty-two percent of women experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries. It’s time to address violence against women—and Hillary will put forward bold plans to do that.
Promote women’s rights around the globe.As secretary of state, Hillary made it a priority to advance the rights of women and girls around the globe. In far too many parts of the world, women are still held back by social, economic, and legal barriers. One in every three girls in developing countries is married before the age of 18, and laws in 79 countries still restrict the type of work women can do. Hillary knows these laws hold societies back, and that promoting gender equality around the world—from ensuring that girls have equal access to education, to making women safe from sexual violence, to promoting equal economic opportunity—will promote a more just, secure, and prosperous global community.
Clinton has a record of fighting for women and girls throughout her career:
After graduating from Yale Law School, Hillary chose not to take a prestigious job at a law firm. Instead, she became an advocate for women, families, and children. She went to work at the Children’s Defense Fund, where she helped expand access to education for children with disabilities.
As first lady of Arkansas, she helped start Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
As first lady of the United States, Hillary was a staunch advocate for women and children’s issues. She led the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she proclaimed that “women’s rights are human rights.” She also advocated for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides leave for new parents or those with a sick loved one, and she worked to increase funding for child care.
As senator from New York, Hillary championed access to emergency contraception and voted in favor of strengthening a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. She also championed the Paycheck Fairness Act and co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in an effort to achieve equal pay and help close the wage gap. She fought for legislation to guarantee paid sick leave and paid parental leave for all federal employees.
As secretary of state, Hillary made women’s rights a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. She created the now-permanent position of ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues and helped launch the first U.S. strategy on women, peace, and security. She also advanced women’s economic empowerment, championed programs to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, and spearheaded public-private partnerships to improve the status of women and girls.
Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008 got an extra dose of high-octane fuel by the history-making fact of becoming the first African-American president. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, seems more inclined to downplay her own history-making candidacy as the first woman to serve as President. Indeed, she’s gotten flack from younger women who are so liberated, they will vote against a woman just to show they can, asserting that they refuse to vote for a woman just because she is a woman (despite the fact that Hillary is the most skilled, experienced candidate who ever ran for the office). Running as a woman is a liability Hillary embraces at her peril, because her opponents will attempt to negate it as using the “gender card.”
Yet, at its core, her whole campaign is about the issues that are of concern to women, for as she says, she is running to break down the barriers that prevent every person from fulfilling their potential. The fact is women are part of each and every one of these marginalized groups.
And just as women’s reproductive rights are as much economic as they are about personal freedom, the long list of policies and agenda items Hillary is advocating for are as much women’s issues as they are matters of economic, social and political justice. But it takes a woman to prioritize them.
These issues include reproductive rights to be sure, but also universal health care, minimum wage, overtime pay, pay parity, paid family leave, access to quality, affordable child care and universal pre-K, student debt, protecting Social Security and Medicare, immigration reform and a path to legalization, gun violence prevention, clean air and water, climate change, clean energy. Add to this jobs creation and union rights, trade deals that protect American workers and the environment, investment in infrastructure, investment in Alzheimer’s research, medical research and innovation. Oh yes, and protecting voting rights, especially from Voter ID and other methods that disproportionately keep women from the polls.
As she said, at a Clinton Foundation “No Ceilings” event in 2015, “If we take bold steps to better the lives of women, we will be taking bold steps to better the lives of children and families too. Families rely on mothers and wives for emotional support and care. Families rely on women for labor in the home. And increasingly, everywhere, families rely on women for income needed to raise healthy children and care for other relatives.”
But 30 years of anti-Hillary propaganda have taken their toll, shaped an image and an argument. It is breathtaking that the question always posed to her – but not to the Republicans – has to do with “trust” and “honesty.” I am trying to figure out on what issue she has been less “trustworthy” or “honest”? Whitewater? Benghazi? Foster? A nurse in Florida told me that Hillary was responsible for 25 murders. I suggest that “dishonest” (or “shady”) is just a way around saying, “we can’t stand a woman who is competent and assertive” without admitting sexism.
Is she too cozy with Corporate America? In fact, that is the secret weapon to actually making progress. It is the strategy and the innovation that has been pursued since 2005 by the Clinton Global Initiative, which have forged partnerships among government entities, the private sector and NGOs that have funneled billions of dollars into 3400 constructive commitments that have benefited 430 million people around the globe. It’s a strategy that has been implemented by the Obama Administration in order to actually make social progress when Republicans just want to cancel programs aimed at uplifting people altogether.
But yes, the innovation that the Clintons have fashioned is to recruit as companies as allies, not enemies – getting Walmart, Coca Cola, The Hershey Corporation and others to invest in sustainable development, Goldman Sachs to create a new financing mechanism to save coral reefs, Proctor & Gamble to devise and distribute millions of packets that can purify water that saves millions of children from dying before the age of 5 from waterborne illnesses, and Monsanto Company to invest in revitalizing the honey bee population. CGI has fostered major cultural change within such massive multi-national organizations, and more than lip-service paid to social investing and economic sustainability. That’s not selling out, That’s converting the very entities that have the power to make real change.
Advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls has been a central focus of CGI and Hillary Clinton. There has been a recognition that if you improve education and family planning, create opportunities to be entrepreneurs or own businesses, you don’t just improve the lives of those women, you improve the lives of their children, their families, their villages and communities and their nations, with impacts far exceeding similar programs offered to men. That’s just fact.
When she was Senator, I recall Hillary Clinton sitting down with a woman’s panel that included the head of CARE, discussing how implementing micro-finance enabled a woman to borrow just $12 to buy a goat, so she could earn enough for school fees for her child.
“When more women enter the workforce, it spurs innovation, increases productivity, and grows economies,” Clinton said at CGI 2012. “Families then have more money to spend, businesses can expand their consumer base and increase their profits. In short, everyone benefits.”
She has brought on board the Buffet Foundation, the Gates Foundation, Nike Foundation, and a long, long list of powerhouses to address issues ranging from clean water and solar-powered lighting to training midwifes and creating the logistics to get vaccines to rural communities.
As Secretary of State, I recall Hillary Clinton’s commitment to CGI on behalf of the Obama Administration to sponsor millions of cooking stoves. Why was this so significant? Well it turns out that the method that women were using – burning carbon inside the house – was not only a leading cause of women dying, but also produced toxic, global-warming causing pollution.
In fact, First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” campaign uses the same CGI techniques of engaging important corporate partners to achieve a significant goal, including Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, JetBlue, Starwood Hotels.
It is stunning that Hillary is being held to account for policies from Bill Clinton’s presidency, when she was First Lady – DOMA, welfare reform, NAFTA and the Crime Bill (all of which were designed to fend off the incessant attacks from the right wing which were determined to undermine his presidency from Day One, just as they have to Obama. It didn’t work – they still impeach them.).
Indeed, she was pilloried for overstepping bounds of a wifely First Lady – how dare she! clearly forgetting how Eleanor Roosevelt was responsible for just about every progressive program FDR ever devised- in trying to achieve universal health care. Besides that, times are different than the mid-1990s, and certainly, we have learned from unintended consequences of legislation, even if initiated in good faith. More significantly, Hillary is not Bill Clinton. Hillary is her own person.
Overcoming the “woman’s issue” is also a factor in her more hawkish stance. She can’t afford to be seen as being a weak Commander-in-Chief. No such concern for Bernie Sanders.
Much like Obama had to downplay race, Hillary Clinton seems to have downplayed women’s issues in this campaign, lest she be attacked (as she already is, nonetheless), for playing the “gender card.
But she has been most constant in her sensitivity and advocacy of women’s rights and the plight of the marginalized.
On International Women’s Day, March 8, she issued a statement crystallizing “the unfinished work” toward insuring that women and girls achieve full equality:
“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate women around the world, in all stations of life — mothers, daughters, grandmothers, teachers, doctors, soldiers, artists, workers, employers, leaders of all kinds. We celebrate their achievements and their humanity. We celebrate the progress we’ve made to advance the full participation of women in economies and societies. And most importantly, we recommit to finishing the unfinished work that remains, and ensuring that women and girls are treated as the full and equal human beings they are.
“Advancing the status of women is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. When women and girls participate fully, economies grow and nations are more secure. When their rights are denied, the opposite happens. No country can get ahead if half its people are left behind.
“I’ve spent my career working to break down barriers that hold back women here at home and around the world. As President, I will keep up the fight. I’ll fight to close the pay gap; make paid family leave a reality; ensure families have access to quality, affordable child care; increase the minimum wage; protect women’s health and reproductive rights; confront violence against women; and promote women’s rights around the globe. These issues ought to be core priorities of our government. They are not just “women’s issues”—they are family issues, economic issues, and they’re crucial to America’s competitiveness and security.
“This International Women’s Day, let’s take a page from the generations of women leaders around the world who never stopped working to make our world a better, more equitable place. And let’s always remember that women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all.”
Being a woman head of state is no longer an issue in places as diverse as Croatia and Pakistan to Germany and the United Kingdom.
As a woman, Hillary Clinton would prioritize and approach issues differently, even from Bernie Sanders who claims to be the great progressive. She has intimate knowledge of these issues from a grass roots level that even Bernie Sanders doesn’t have (while each one of the Republican candidates would certainly roll back progress to “take America back” to the halcyon days when white men ruled).
And if she does become President, she will become President Hillary Rodham Clinton, and hopefully, bring a woman’s touch to the most powerful position on earth.
FACT SHEET: Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color
Today, the White House Council on Women and Girls in collaboration with the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University will host a daylong forum on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color, which will focus on empowering and increasing opportunity for women and girls of color and their peers. The forum will bring together a range of stakeholders from the academic, private, government and philanthropic sectors to discuss ways that we can break down barriers to success and create more ladders of opportunity for all Americans, including women and girls of color. Forum participants will highlight a range of issues, including economic development, healthcare, criminal justice, vulnerability to violence, hip-hop, and images of women in the media. Today, the Council on Women and Girls will release a progress report, “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color,” as a follow up to the 2014 report, and announce independent commitments to close opportunity gaps faced by women and girls, including women and girls of color.
As President Obama noted in his speech to the Congressional Black Caucus in September 2015, women and girls of color have made significant progress in recent years. The growth in the number of businesses owned by black women outpaces that of all women-owned firms. Teen births are down, and high school graduation and college enrollment rates are up. However, opportunity gaps and structural barriers still remain. Today’s forum will address these challenges and ways to build on the progress we have already made as a country. You can watch the forum at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
Today the White House is announcing independent commitments which, include a $100 million, 5-year-funding initiative by Prosperity Together to improve economic prosperity for low-income women. In addition, we are announcing an $18 million funding commitment by the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research—an affiliation of American colleges, universities, research organizations, publishers and public interest institutions led by Wake Forest University—to support existing and new research efforts about women and girls of color.
The Council on Women and Girls has identified five data-driven issue areas where interventions can promote opportunities for success at school, work, and in the community. Continuing research in these areas and exploration of new efforts can help advance equality for women and girls of color. Here are some initial steps that we are taking in collaboration with public and private stakeholders to address each:
#1: FOSTERNG SCHOOL SUCCESS AND REDUCING UNNECESSARY EXCLUSIONARY SCHOOL DISCIPLINE
Girls of color experience disproportionately high rates of school suspensions. Black girls are suspended at higher rates (12%) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and at higher rates than white boys (6%) and white girls (2%). American Indian/Alaska Native girls are also suspended at rates that exceed those of white students. By adopting supportive school discipline practices, schools foster success for all students and increase the likelihood that students will stay engaged and stay in school. The Administration has taken the following steps to facilitate supportive school discipline policies:
Ø Supporting school discipline practices that promote safe, inclusive and positive learning environments.
In order to create a positive learning environment the Administration has provided clear steps for school districts to follow to better support its students.
Ø Enhancing public awareness about exclusionary school discipline, including how it disproportionately affects girls of color.
Until recently, scholarly research and public data on girls of color and school discipline was limited or difficult to access. The Obama Administration has been committed to making information generated by the Federal Government, including information on school discipline, accessible to the public.
In July 2015, ED launched a public awareness campaign, #RethinkDiscipline, which included story maps—disaggregated by race, gender, and disability status— aimed at making school discipline data comprehensible and easily accessible to the public.
In addition, ED has funded a $1 million data initiative, to be completed in the spring of 2016, which disaggregates K-12 data on school discipline, teacher equity, gifted and talented programs, and other metrics, broken down by gender and ethnicity/race.
#2: MEETING THE NEEDS OF VULNERABLE AND STRIVING YOUTH
Girls and young women of color represent a growing share of juvenile arrests, delinquency petitions, detentions and post-adjudication placements. Although African-American girls represent about 14 percent of the United States population, they constitute 32 percent of girls who are detained and committed. Native American girls are only one percent of the general population, but 3.5 percent of girls who are detained and committed. The most common infractions that girls are arrested for include running away and truancy— behaviors that are also symptoms or outcomes of trauma and abuse. Once in the system, girls may be treated as offenders rather than girls in need of support, perpetuating a vicious cycle that is increasingly known as the “sexual abuse to prison pipeline.” The Administration has taken the following actions to improve outcomes in intervening public systems:
Ø Enhancing programmatic responses by integrating evidence-based trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive perspectives into youth serving systems and organizations.
Addressing the root causes of pathways into those systems with sensitivity allows opportunities for meaningful second chances. To identify the issues and facilitate the development of new frameworks:
In October 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a rule to clarify protections for victims of harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability under the Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule would provide for uniform treatment of quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment claims under the Fair Housing Act.
In October 2015, DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released new guidance “Girls and the Juvenile Justice System.” Recognizing that many girls experience violence and/or bias leading to their involvement with the juvenile justice system, the guidance calls for a developmentally informed approach that acknowledges intersectional disparities and calls for the reduction or elimination of the arrest and detention for status offenses, technical violations of probation, simple assault, family-based offenses, running away, and prostitution-related charges.
Ø Expanding disaggregated data initiatives.
In order to design interventions that address the needs of girls and young women, particularly those who have experienced trauma, we need to better understand the population of those affected, through research and through the release of data disaggregated by race, gender, and other variables.
In October 2015, the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) released Juvenile Court Statistics 2013, a report that describes delinquency cases and petitioned status offense cases processed by courts with juvenile jurisdiction in 2013. Summaries are available from 1985 to present for more than 25 offense categories, and include separate presentations by gender, age, and race.
#3: INCLUSIVE STEM EDUCATION
Significant opportunity gaps exist in STEM education and careers for women, especially for women and girls of color. Although more women graduate from college and participate in graduate programs than men, women’s participation in science and engineering significantly differs by field of study, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In 2012, for example, underrepresented minority womenreceived only 11.2% of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, 8.2% of master’s degrees in science and engineering, and 4.1% of doctorate degrees in science and engineering. The Administration recognizes implicit biases and stereotypes may play a prominent, if still often unrecognized, role in STEM and other disparities, and has committed to the following actions:
Ø Enhancing pathways that engage underrepresented women in quality STEM programs and education.
STEM jobs are expected to outpace non-STEM jobs over the next ten years. Engaging underrepresented girls and young women in STEM opens additional economic opportunity. Career and technical training opens access to high skilled, high demand careers, which provide a route to the middle-class.
In January 2015, at a White House convening on bringing marginalized girls into STEM and CTE careers, the National Girls Collaborative created a new STEM/CTE portal which centralizes resources on expanding girls’ access to STEM and CTE, including curriculum, research, and promising practices. The portal will include EmpowerHer—a new interactive map that will make it easier to locate STEM enrichment activities in underserved areas. Additionally, Time Warner Cable and local partners have committed $100,000 towards a small grants competition to link community STEM mentors and girls, which will launch in December of 2015.
In September 2015, The Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) at Arizona State University announced theNational Academic STEM Collaborative at a White House roundtable. This collaborative is a network of 10 academic partners and nine organizational partners who are identifying and scaling effective, evidence-based strategies to improve STEM diversity in the nation’s colleges and universities, with a focus on women and girls from underrepresented communities. Building on the finding that women are more likely to enter into STEM careers if exposed to entrepreneurial activity, the Collaborative will co-host a “Women of Color and STEM Entrepreneurship Conference” in the spring of 2016 in partnership with Arizona State University and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Ø Encouraging STEM participation by highlighting accomplishments of girls and women from diverse communities and by encouraging academic institutions and programs to recruit and retain diverse talent in STEM fields.
Research indicates that diverse teams and organizationsoutperform those that are less diverse on a number of financial metrics. Diversity makes good economic sense for America. The White House has been able to use its public platform to showcase opportunities for women and girls in STEM in the following ways:
In August of 2015, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day, where entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, including women of color, showcased innovations. The President also issued a call to action to advance inclusive entrepreneurship, and highlighted independent actions by groups like Sabiola, who established a Women of Color Fellowship Fund that will give at least 100 women access to a 12-week coding bootcamp, job-interview prep, and ongoing professional development after completion of the program, and IBM, who expanded Girls Who Code to introduce the next generation of women software developers to cloud computing innovation.
In March 2015, the White House Science Fair had a specific focus on diversity and included students from underrepresented backgrounds who are excelling in STEM. This year’s participants included a record number of girls and young women from diverse communities.
To help address the lack of visible role models in STEM, the White House launched a website that highlights some of theuntold history of women in science and technology. The website uses the voices of prominent women to tell the stories of some of their female scientific heroes who have changed history.
#4: SUSTAINING REDUCED RATES OF TEEN PREGNANCY AND BUILDING ON SUCCESS
Despite the steady decline of U.S. teen births over the past two decades, minority communities continue to have disproportionately high rates. Black and Latina girls remain more than twice as likely as white girls to become pregnant during adolescence, and American Indian/Alaska Native teen birth rates are one and a half times higher than the white teen birth rate. We know that opportunity shrinks for teen parents and their children. Only half of all teen mothers receive a high school diploma by age 22. In the aggregate, the children of teen mothers are less likely to complete school and have higher rates of health problems and unemployment. Research by the Brookings Institution also shows that when teens delay birth, the average family income of their offspring increases. The longer a teen birth is delayed, the larger the average family income of the offspring. The Administration has engaged the following strategies to work to end unplanned teen pregnancy and thus increase both educational and economic opportunity:
Ø Ensuring that evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs reach communities with the greatest need.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) administers the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program, an evidence-based teen pregnancy program, which enables grantees to replicate evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs in communities with the greatest need.
In July 2015, OAH awarded 81 new grants, totaling more than $86 million to programs across the country. The grants are focused on reaching young people in communities where high teen pregnancy rates persist. Programs grants were awarded in four categories: (1) community capacity building to support replication of evidence-based TPP programs (especially for populations serving youth in juvenile detention and foster care, homeless youth or young parents); (2) scaling evidence-based TPP programs in communities with the greatest need (including programs that focus on reaching especially vulnerable youth); (3) supporting early innovation to advance adolescent health and prevent teen pregnancy (including technology-based innovations and one grant focused on program innovations) and (4) evaluation of new or innovative approaches to prevent teen pregnancy.
Ø Ensuring that developmentally appropriate information about pregnancy prevention reaches all teens, including in high-need communities.
The Administration recognizes that if information is provided to communities it must be effective for the intended audience.
In September 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Reproductive Health committed $9.75 million to enhance the capacity of publicly-funded health centers’ to provide youth-appropriate sexual and reproductive health services. CDC has funded a $1 million innovation contractto finalize the development of a mobile app, Crush, which supports pregnancy prevention.
#5: ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
Despite their driving growth in the workforce, women of color face persistent challenges to full participation in the economy. Although women in general face a continuing pay gap compared to their male counterparts, the gap is even larger for women of color. Additionally, black women face the highest rates of poverty for those 65 years and older (21 percent), followed by Hispanic women (20 percent), and Asian women (13 percent). Increasing the economic opportunity of women of color will also give more opportunity to their children and continue to increase opportunity for generations to come. The Administration has been working to increase opportunities for economic prosperity in the following ways:
Ø Lifting Families Out of Poverty by Making Permanent Key Provisions of Tax Credits for Working Americans.
Supporting tax credits that encourage work, boost incomes, and reduce poverty, thus helping working families make ends meet and improve opportunity for their children.
The President continues to push to make permanent key provisions to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), which are scheduled to expire after 2017. These tax credits boost income for 16 million families with 30 million children each year, including about 2 million African American families and about 5 million Latino families. The provisions allow more low-income working parents to access the CTC and provide a larger EITC for families with three or more children and married families. They reduce the extent or severity of poverty for more than 16 million people – including about 8 million children. A growing body of research shows that helping low-wage working families through the EITC and CTC not only boosts parents’ employment rates and reduce poverty, but will also have positive immediate and long-term effects on children, including improved health and educational outcomes.
The President’s Budget proposes expanding the EITC for “childless” workers and non-custodial parents, who currently receive only a very small EITC and, as a result, are the only group the Federal tax code taxes into – or deeper into – poverty. The President’s proposal would benefit more than 13 million low-income workers, including 2 million African American workers and 3.3 million Latino workers.
The President’s Budget proposes to triple the maximum Child and Dependent Tax Credit (CDCTC) for families with children under the age of five and makes the full CDCTC available to families with incomes up to $120,000, benefitting families with young children, older children and dependents who are elderly or have disabilities. The childcare tax reforms would benefit 6.2 million families.
Ø Encouraging outside stakeholders to commit to working in their communities to create opportunities for women and girls of color.
Today the Ms. Foundation and Prosperity Together, a consortium of 20 women’s foundations are announcing a $100 million, 5-year-funding commitment to improve economic prosperity for low-income women. Prosperity Together partners will use their respective experience and knowledge to fund programs that are proven effective in their communities and states, including job training programs that are customized to (1) address the cultural and educational needs of low-income women in order to secure a higher-wage job in a stable work environment and (2) enhance access for low-income women to culturally appropriate, affordable, high-quality childcare.
Ø Investing in improvements to compensation, paid and sick leaveand other policies, which support working families:
Approximately 40 percent of private- sector employees work at a company that does not offer sick pay for their own illness or injury. Low- and middle-income workers are much less likely to have access to paid sick leave than other workers. The Administration believes that working to improve baseline rates of compensation and expand access to leave, will expand economic opportunity for women and for families. Because of this we have taken the following approaches to increase economic prosperity:
Since President Obama called on cities and states to raise their minimum wages in 2013, 17 states have raised their minimum wage, resulting in higher wages for an estimated 360,000 Black women, 1.2 million Hispanic women, and 320,000 AAPI and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
In January 2015, DOL extended minimum wage and overtime protections to most of those who provide home care assistance. Nearly two million direct care workers, such as home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants who provide home and personal care services – nearly 50 percent of whom are women of color – will have minimum wage and overtime protections to ensure they are paid fairly for their work.
In July 2015, DOL proposed a rule that would extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers—the majority of whom are women—within the first year of its implementation.
In January 2015, The President issued a memorandum directing agencies to offer six weeks of advanced paid sick leave to federal workers to take care of a new child or an ill family member, and in September 2015 he signed an Executive Order providing for employees on covered federal contracts to receive up to seven days of paid sick leave each year.
President Obama has sponsored unprecedented levels of openness in government. In keeping with this, DOL issued a final rule in September 2015 supporting pay transparency and prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation.
Ø Increasing access to federal contracting opportunities including for minority women-owned businesses:
Women and minority businesses that contract with the U.S. government are more likely than their non-contracting colleagues to exceed $1 million in revenue and more likely to own larger firms than their non-contracting peers. Policies that link women of color-owned businesses to government contracts support entrepreneurs and enhance their capacity to expand employment within the communities in which they operate.
In September 2015, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a new rule that authorizes federal agencies to award sole source contracts to women-owned small businesses eligible for the Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Grant Program or the Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses.
Ø Increasing the diverse participation in career and technical training, especially in areas of high growth demand:
In September 2015, President Obama announced that DOL’sAmerican Apprenticeship Grant Program awarded $175 million in grants to 46 awardees. The American Apprenticeship grants increase opportunity by investing in innovations and strategies to scale apprenticeships — including by marketing to women and other Americans who have been underrepresented.
DOL will also open grant solicitations to fund programs that address childcare barriers that low skilled and unemployed workers face when accessing training opportunities for well-paying, high growth jobs in industries like healthcare, financial services, and other in-demand sectors.
RESEARCH TO LEAD THE WAY
Knowing what is necessary to create pathways for women and girls of color and their peers to achieve success is only strengthened when the proper research and data is available. We are encouraged that academic institutions are not only creating a space for people of all backgrounds to learn, but also studying and writing about these critical issues. With an initial funding commitment of $18 million, the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research will play a key role in supporting this effort.
Creating opportunities for young women of color is also necessary to generate curiosity in the next generation of women. In March, The Smithsonian Institution will theme its March 12, 2016 “Museum Day Live!” to “inspire women and girls of color.” Museum Day Live! includes 1,300 museums and attracts 250,000 visitors to museums and cultural centers across the United States. The National Endowment for the Humanities will fund a small grants competition to facilitate museums and other cultural centers to develop programming to create new bridges between communities and cultural institutions as centers of informal learning.
As President Obama has emphasized, America cannot afford to leave anyone behind if we are to maintain our competitive advantage globally. Our success in the years to come will depend in large part on ensuring that all our children, students, and workers have the chance to reach their full potential. The Council on Women and Girls will continue to work to ensure government policies appropriately consider these kinds of challenges and persistent opportunity gaps faced by too many disadvantaged, marginalized, or underrepresented girls—and inspire the private sector to do the same—to ensure that everyone who aspires to get ahead has a chance to succeed.