Despite winning the election by a narrow margin and losing the popular vote, Trump is conducting a victory tour.
At the same time, he is surrounding himself with people who have taken a number of positions that go against the Latino community’s best interests, particularly when it comes to women. Latinas should take note, and here is why.
The president-elect is on the record saying that he doesn’t believe in equal pay for women or increasing the minimum wage. Why does this matter? Because Latinas are disproportionately represented in jobs that pay at or below the minimum wage and they make the least compared to other racial or ethnic groups; in fact, Latinas make less than men even when they are more educated.
Yes – you are reading that right. Over their lifetime, Latinas stand to lose an astounding $1 million due to the gender pay gap. This has a deep impact on their families’ economic well-being, as it dictates the paychecks they take home, the kind of housing they can afford, and how much money they save for retirement.
Trump has also staked his ground on immigration, promising to rescind DACA, deport the undocumented, and build a wall. But there is an important perspective on how these policies affect immigrant women in particular.
To begin with, they experience abuse and harassment at work in high numbers, particularly domestic workers and farm workers . And deportations have a profound and negative effect on children and families: an Urban Institute study found that family income dropped an average of 70 percent following the arrest of a parent in an immigration raid, and some families became permanently separated as parents lost custody of or contact with their children.
Immigrant women are often also more prone to abuse from partners who use a woman’s immigration status to keep her from leaving.
Trump also said that he intends to follow through with his promise to appoint a conservative judge to the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade. If this were to happen, the decision to allow abortions would go back to the states. We have already been privy to the disastrous consequences of this approach, given what has taken place in states such as Texas and Ohio.
On this issue, Latinas are also disproportionately exposed given that compared to white non-Hispanic women, Latinas are twice as likely to experience an unintended pregnancy. They are also less likely to be able to afford abortion services.
Not content with limiting abortions, the president-elect has vowed to go further by making it harder to even get contraception! Under the ACA, Americans pay no out-of-pocket costs for contraceptives prescribed by a doctor. Trump’s recent nomination of Congressman Tom Price could surely make this threat real given that Price is an avowed opponent of the Affordable Care Act and its birth control mandate, as well as opposing funding for Planned Parenthood.
Given these positions and the fact that Republicans now control both the House and Senate, it is not a stretch to say that women’s issues are under attack.
Yet in these turbulent times there is a ray of hope. This past November we saw the election of the first Latina senator, an incredible accomplishment for Catherine Cortez Masto and for our community; and we also saw a number of Latinas elected across the country, from Susana Mendoza in Illinois to Nanette Barragán in California.
Latinas should take a page from these women and redouble efforts to organize, step up, and lead to defend the progress that has been made. Our future depends on it.
Disclaimer: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and/or the organization(s) they represent and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision Noticias.