This is a historic year for young women voters. For many of us, it is our first year of voter eligibility, and it is the first time anyone has seen a woman nominated for president by a major party. For college women, it should also be the easiest voting decision they will ever make. Female students are preparing to launch careers and position themselves to succeed in the world. Voting for Trump would be contradictory to this goal.
The forecasted economic implications of a Trump presidency are dire regardless of gender — Moody Analytics predicted a lengthy recession and 3.5 million fewer jobs. However, there are specific issues regarding child care, maternity leave and equal pay that would have an outsized impact on young women entering the workforce.
A lot of progress has been made through both policy and ground-up initiatives to promote women in the workforce. But as Obama’s State of the Union address highlighted, there is still a long way to go.
“There was a lot historically that women in the workplace have already overcome,” said Jacqueline Crosby, president of Women in Business at UT. “But I think what we are trying to focus on now is having a better work-life balance as a woman.”
Work-life balance is a topic of great significance for millennials, especially for women who might one day want a family and need financial support. Maternity leave is one of the biggest woman-focused issues this election cycle, especially considering the U.S.’s standing as the only industrialized nation that doesn’t require paid maternity leave.
Both Clinton and Trump have outlined policies to address this issue, but even here Trump has managed to fall short. Clinton proposed the scientifically recommended 12 weeks of parental leave, but Trump went a different direction, mandating only 6 weeks of maternity leave with less compensation. The “parental” versus “maternity” distinction is significant, as some have speculated that a women-only policy will exacerbate the perceived “inconvenience” of expectant mothers by widening the wage gap.
Trump has not exactly demonstrated that he has grasped the concept of the wage gap. Memorably, he dismissed the concept at an event last year saying, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.”
Not quite, Donald. Women currently earn 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, even less if you aren’t white.
Just a few months before he made the comment about equal pay, Trump was sued by one of his own field organizers who accused him of paying her less than the men with the same job. And this wasn’t a one-off instance. Over 30 years, Trump affiliate companies have faced more than two dozen lawsuits over age, race and gender discrimination. No large company is going to be controversy-free, but Trump’s business practices have proven discouraging to women’s advancement. No amount of smoothing out by Ivanka or campaign promises can compensate for an established track record of undercutting women in the workplace.
The policies enacted in the next four to eight years will directly affect current college women’s careers and life trajectories. These are the years of job searches, of career moves and of planning families. This November, college women should vote for their future. Not Trump.
Hallas is a Plan II and health and society sophomore from Allen. She is a senior columnist. Follow her on Twitter @LauraHallas.