With the United States’ National Women’s Month behind us, it seems appropriate to reflect on women and their efforts to challenge President Trump’s rise to power and his more misogynistic actions. Women from all walks of life joined together on March 8th, International Women’s Day, not only to celebrate women and our accomplishments but to also challenge those who build glass ceilings above the heads of American women. From the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, which restricts aid given to non-governmental organizations that provide or promote abortions to the plans to defund Planned Parenthood, President Trump’s first quarter thus far has resulted in an infringement on women’s rights. When it comes to women’s issues, the Trump-Pence duo is not one we should hold a light to. So who should women and girls look to, then, for inspiration throughout this presidency? Below you’ll find a diverse group of women worthy of praise for their activism.
Senator Elizabeth Warren certainly fits this standard. She is a progressive Democrat who is featured in the news weekly because of her strong statements against the Trump administration. Her opposition speech to Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, led to her being kicked off the Senate floor and culminated in the creation of a viral hashtag, #neverthelessshepersisted. Warren’s most recent stand against the Trump administration was in response to the Republicans’ failed healthcare bill. Elizabeth Warren spoke out against Paul Ryan and Donald Trump’s healthcare bill, arguing that bills such as this serve corporate interests and leave middle-class and low-income families behind.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is not the only woman in government to take a stand against President Trump. Congresswoman Maxine Waters did the same, calling for Trump to be impeached, claiming that he is “a lying, indecent man who has offended so many people in this country and around the world – except Putin. He doesn’t belong in the White House.” Unfortunately, an insult toward Waters launched by Bill O’Reilly on Fox and Friends has largely distracted from Congresswoman Water’s comments on the President and his actions thus far. Even in the 21st century, we find that women are consistently being valued based solely on their appearance as opposed to their minds and their voices. The importance of Water’s message should not be disregarded. And, whether you agree with her or not, the treatment of Congresswoman Waters should be highlighted as inappropriate and unacceptable altogether. Twitter once again blew up with a new hashtag, #blackwomenlead, proving that what Maxine Waters experienced resonated with women throughout America and around the world.
April Ryan, an African-American Washington Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, also experienced mistreatment by the Trump administration. April Ryan and had an interesting exchange with President Trump at the February Press Conference when Ryan asked whether Trump would be consulting members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Trump dismissively responded by asking Ryan if she would set up that meeting. Weeks later, Ryan found herself at odds with Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, during an exchange that has been referred to as condescending and disrespectful. The exchange involved Spicer demanding that April Ryan stops shaking her head, and accused her of trying to forge a false image of the White House. These public exchanges have been met with backlash on a large scale and culminated in April Ryan being hired at CNN as a Political Correspondent, who claimed she accepted the job to protect and advocate for the freedom of the press.
Hillary Clinton has come out in support of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and April Ryan, calling attention to the mistreatment of women in the last week and citing Bill O’Reilly’s so-called joke made at the expense of Waters: “Too many women, especially women of colour, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride.” Since the elections, Hillary Clinton has largely remained silent on issues related to President Trump’s administration; the fact that she has broken her silence to come out in defense of Maxine Waters and April Ryan demonstrates the severity of the issue.
There are many notable private citizens who have stood up in response to President Trump. For example, Linda Sarsour, a Muslim-American activist, made headlines after she, as co-chair of the Women’s March, marched alongside millions of women in protest against Trump. Sarsour’s speech at the Women’s March was indeed powerful, inciting the power of women and the importance of empowering them, stating, “When we are protected, when we are respected, when we are able to thrive and given the same opportunities as our male counterparts, when we are given space to lead and rise — our nation will rise.” Sarsour’s message is a strong counter to the Trump presidency, and she refuses to support a president that was elected on the backs of the many marginalized groups in America, including African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, American Muslims, the LGBTQ+ community, disabled Americans, and women.
With all this said, we’re now moving into April, a new quarter for President Trump to try to redeem himself after a massive loss with his failed healthcare bill. President Trump began April by proclaiming the month as “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.” Hopefully, the President will work tirelessly with his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is now working in the West Wing of the White House, and both parties to pass some legislation that will support the victims of sexual assault across the country.
By Stephanie Yaacoub
Please note that opinions expressed are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and values of The Blank Page.