As a mother, a woman of color, and an idealist, there is nothing about Donald Trump that I can say I like. It's not just the myths about working moms he unapologetically perpetuates; it's his racist, xenophobic, misogynistic campaign for president that both frightens and disgusts me. Trump has consistently revealed himself to be a destructive liar who brags about sexually assaulting women, discriminates against people of color, and cheats workers and business owners. Thanks to his campaign, he has spread ideas that make life harder for millions more by normalizing bullying and white supremacist violence, and spreading lies about numerous groups of people that don't benefit from the massive platform he's been allowed to take advantage of and maintain.
Though not as viscerally outrageous as most of what he has said and done throughout his life, Trump and his running mate Mike Pence still perpetuate ideas and hope to enact policies that would severely and negatively affect all of us, and our families’ health, well-being, and quality of life. That’s because they both hold ridiculous misconceptions about how women’s bodies work, as well as deeply sexist, out-of-touch notions about what our roles and rights should be.
It’s not at all surprising that a man who kicked a mom and her baby out of a campaign rally, and whose supporters are willing to openly mock a mother and child with disabilities, would offer policy proposals that do nothing to help working mothers. In Trump’s world, women aren't people who have the same rights to exist in public spaces and pursue our own interests. Instead, we are objects to use for sexual gratification whether we consent or not and, once we’re no longer sexually interesting, to incubate and raise men’s children. Working moms and families can’t afford to live in a country run by someone who believes that, and who perpetuates the following falsehoods:
Moms Should Be The Only Ones Responsible For Caring For Children…
From widely-read interviews and profiles about his personal life, it's clear that Trump believes raising children is solely a mother’s responsibility. Not dads, nor society more generally, but moms alone. Trump scoffed at his ex-wife Marla Maples for suggesting that he walk their infant daughter down the street, and praised his current wife Melania Trump for not even asking him to do much with their son, Barron.
...And Are The Only Ones Who Require Family Leave Accommodations
Trump has also said that men who look after children are “act[ing] like the wife.” That explains why he leaves men out of his paid leave plan completely. He doesn't think men need time off from work to care for families, because he thinks raising families is “women’s work.”
Only Biological Moms Need Paid Leave
Among the many oversights in Trump’s maternity leave plan (including stable funding streams, and the fact that not all families even include mothers at all), Trump’s plan doesn't just ignore men, but also women who become mothers by adopting children. People who create families via adoption are completely left out of his notion of family. As a result, instead of being able to care for and bond with their new children, adoptive parents and their kids would be totally left out to dry if Donald Trump became president of the United States.
Motherhood Is An Inconvenience For Businesses
No matter how much he may try to lie about it now, Trump is on record saying that pregnancy is “an inconvenience” for businesses. Apparently, it has never occurred to him that workers are people, or that people often reproduce, which is why every other industrialized nation has figured out how to accommodate basic human biology without considerable difficulty.
Quality Childcare Is Easy To Create And Find…
Referencing his “Trump Kids” and “Trumpateers” childcare programs (which, contrary to what he claimed, are available to guests at his properties, not employees), Trump said, “It’s not expensive for a company to do it. You need one person or two people, and you need some blocks and you need some swings and some toys. You know, surely, it’s not expensive. It’s not an expensive thing.”
Apparently, no one has told "The Donald" about minimum child to adult ratios, facility safety and hygiene standards, certification and licensing requirements for daycare teachers, liability insurance or that working parents actually care enough about their children to check for these things. (And yes, such requirements are expensive.)
...And Is Easy For Average Working Families To Pay For
For the most part, Trump’s proposed childcare plan revolves around tax deductions, which means that in order to benefit from said plan, parents would have to be able to pay childcare costs upfront and then declare it on their taxes. That means it's a benefit that primarily helps families who are wealthy enough to afford to pay expensive childcare costs immediately and without any help (and who are earning enough money to pay taxes). That’s totally out of touch with the reality of most working families, who are struggling now that childcare costs are more expensive than college tuition (in most states).
Working After Becoming A Mother Is Solely A Personal Choice
Trump believes that motherhood is a woman’s most important job. Because Trump comes from a world of economic privilege, the fact that most mothers have to work paid jobs, whether they want to or not, is completely lost on him. His proposed policies for working moms are poorly thought out and impractical (not that his proposed maternity policies differ much from the few other policy proposals he has bothered to articulate in this regard) because he probably doesn't realize that they're actually important to most people.
Pumping Breast Milk Is Disgusting
Millions of American moms try to provide their babies with breast milk for at least their first year of life. Since most moms need to work outside of their homes, that means they also need to express breast milk regularly throughout the day in order to provide milk for their babies, maintain their milk supply, and avoid becoming painfully engorged while apart from their little ones. All moms who have actually used a breast pump know expressing milk is another example of hard work and sacrifice working moms make for their kids. Trump calls pumping breast milk “disgusting.”
There's No Such Thing As Workplace Discrimination
Motherhood status is a greater predictor of wage inequality than gender itself. Structural and in-person discrimination — in addition to poor family leave and childcare policies that penalize working mothers — drives the gender pay gap and prevents many working women (the majority of whom become mothers) from achieving their career goals.
According to Trump, all that struggle is just in our heads. He believes women merely perceive a glass ceiling. Millions of women’s lived experiences, and carefully collected statistics, beg to differ.
Working Moms Are A Special Interest Group
Women are just under half of the U.S. workforce, and over eighty percent of American women eventually become mothers. That means workplace and social policies that ignore us and our needs make life tangibly harder for the overwhelming majority of American families. We are the norm in America; hardly a “special interest group.” Yet Trump treats working moms like an afterthought.
Despite formally announcing his campaign in June of 2015, he only came out with this lackluster maternity leave plan nearly thirteen months later. Apparently, plans to build a wall to keep out Mexican people and banning Muslim people from our country are higher priorities (in his mind) than, say, ensuring women can heal from childbirth and assisting parents in caring for new children.