You'd be forgiven if you read President Donald Trump's statement on the International Day of the Girl and thought you'd been transported into an alternate reality.
He, or let's be honest the White House press team that slapped his name on this thing, says that his administration is "ensuring that every female, young and old, is empowered to pursue her dreams" and "working to ensure that every girl is born into a world where she is free to live her life to the fullest."
This is coming from the same guy who has spent his time in office slowly rolling back rules that protect and help uplift women and girls. Forgive half the world's population while we collectively eye roll.
"If this Administration really cared about empowering girls, it would take proactive steps to protect girls from assault on our campuses; it would stop undermining civil rights laws and equal pay and fair treatment in the workplace; it would defend our reproductive choices, so critical to a young woman’s autonomy," said Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, a nonprofit working to defend women and girls across the globe. "Our girls deserve more than lip service."
His statement feels like a "slap in the face," as Farrell described it, because it is. Let's run through what Trump has actually done when it comes to women and girls since moving into 1600 Penn. That'll snap you right back to our shared darkest timeline.
1. Reversing on-campus sexual assault guidelines
The Trump administration, through Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, announced in September the reversal of a directive that forced universities to quickly investigate on-campus sexual assault. Former President Barack Obama had enacted the requirement, which lowered the burden of proof and cut federal funding if schools weren't compliant, in 2011.
2. Rolling back birth control access
As Farrell said, reproductive choices, and that would include birth control, are vital for women's autonomy. Trump mentions "unreasonable limits and restrictions block [girls'] paths to achievement and self-fulfillment." Limiting access to birth control is just that kind of hurdle.
Trump rolled back an Obamacare provision requiring employers to offer health insurance that covered birth control this month. Making the move worse, he did it on the anniversary of his "grab 'em by the pussy" tape going public.
3. Disbanding the White House Council on Women and Girls
Seems kind of hard to shape policy that will help women and girls when you quietly suspend the White House advisory group doing just that. Trump has iced the Obama-era council as his administration decides its fate, according to a June Politico report.
Trump's also put the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau on the chopping block as part of his proposed 2018 budget.
Separately, after he took office, the White House website was scrubbed of several pages. While this was a big deal in the climate community since it wiped away mentions of human-caused global warming, women-related pages were also deleted. A fact sheet on the Violence Against Women Act was removed along with a civil rights page.
4. Blocking Planned Parenthood funding
Trump signed a law in April that lets local governments withhold federal funding from health providers like Planned Parenthood that offer abortions, along with myriad other women's health care treatments like breast cancer screenings. One month later he proposed a federal budget that defunded Planned Parenthood — which is already barred from using federal funds for abortion services in most cases — completely.
5. Global Gag Rule
On a related note, after his inauguration, Trump also instituted a policy known as the "Global Gag Rule" that prevents non-governmental organizations receiving U.S. funds for global health issues to prove they don't use their other funding to provide abortions or talk about the option with patients. NGOs couldn't use U.S. aid for abortion services before this rule.
6. Halting efforts to track the gender pay gap
In August, Trump stopped an Obama-crafted rule from going into effect that would make companies track payment data based on race and gender. The data was meant to help close the gender pay gap. Women earn about 80 cents to their male peer's dollar. How's that for empowerment.
7. Pulling back federal protections for trans students
When we talk about the International Day of the Girl, we can't forget trans women and girls. In February, Trump pulled back federal protections that let transgender students use the bathroom of their choice.
Going further, Trump's Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, declared this month that the Civil Rights Act, which prevents employer discrimination, doesn't protect transgender employees.
8. Preventing sexual assault victims from getting their day in court
Trump reversed a 2014 law that forced federal contractors to comply with labor and civil rights laws. Without the law, federal contractors no longer need to make their paychecks transparent (remember the wage gap) and women who complain of sexual harassment or discrimination can be forced into arbitration. That means they can't take their complaints to a public forum, like the courts.
So much for his missive that "societies and economies achieve far better results when they embrace, rather than marginalize, the power of women."