We’ve gone from having a White House Council on Women and Girls to a gender wage gap denier as a senior advisor on women’s issues to President Trump.
Last week, news reports revealed that 31-year-old Stephen Miller, a former campaign aide, speechwriter and senior advisor to the President, and one of the high-profile Steves in the Administration (there’s also Bannon and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin), will now also be working closely with Ivanka Trump on family leave, child care and women’s issues.
Here are four things you should know about Stephen Miller that left us floored that he’s a lead advisor to the President on issues that matter to women.
1. Miller thinks the gender wage gap is a myth; apparently, ladies just don’t like to work hard or do “the dirty work.”
As a Duke University student in 2005, Miller wrote an op-ed entitled “Sorry feminists,” claiming that women make less than men not because of gender discrimination, but because of their choice to work in low-wage jobs and work fewer hours. His article attributes occupational segregation, a driver of the gender wage gap, to men’s “sacrifice” and willingness “to do all the dirty work in society,” and perform “hazardous” jobs that pay higher wages. But he didn’t advocate for increasing women’s access to these high-paying jobs. Instead, the man now advising the President on women’s issues said that “[t]he truth is, even in modern-day America, there is a place for gender roles. I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable hiring a full-time male babysitter or driving down the street and seeing a group of women carrying heavy steel pillars to a construction site.”
2. Miller is against paid maternity leave because businesses shouldn’t have to pay for women’s “choices.”
In his 2005 op-ed, Miller also made the tired old argument that the gender wage gap could be explained in part by the fact that women “choose” to stay out of the workforce for years after having children. Of course, he didn’t mention that women in the U.S. still shoulder the majority of caregiving responsibilities, and many do so without access to any type of paid leave or affordable child care, making it difficult to keep a job and meet caregiving responsibilities. But according to Miller, paid maternity leave isn’t the answer; he thinks it causes businesses to lose money, provides employers with incentives to avoid hiring women, and leads to layoffs.
3. Miller was in the Oval Office with a small group of men when President Trump reinstated the global gag rule.
Miller was one of a handful of people present for the signing of an executive order reinstating the “global gag rule,” which prohibits federal funding for any international nongovernmental organizations that offer abortions or support abortion as a reproductive health choice. The rule also prohibits organizations that receive U.S. government funding from using their own funds to provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or to advocate for access to abortion in their own country.
4. Miller developed and defended the Administration’s first travel ban (aka the “Muslim ban”).
Miller was instrumental in the development and rollout of the Administration’s initial executive order imposing a 90-day ban on travelers from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), freezing refugee admissions for 120 days, and banning the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely. There’s a reason it was called the “Muslim ban” – the order targeted Muslim-majority countries, while granting priority to refugees from religious minority (ie, non-Muslim) communities for resettlement. The order applied not only to visitors but also to US green card holders, many of whom were barred from re-entering the country and were detained at airports, causing chaos and separating families, including those with young children.
The first ban was subject to legal challenges and was enjoined by a federal appeals court. But Miller was all over TV insisting that “nothing was wrong with the first executive order” and said that with the second order, issued on March 6, “you are still going to have the same, basic policy outcome for the country.” Not surprisingly, Miller also supports building the border wall between the United States and Mexico – yet another discriminatory policy targeting people based on their national origin, tearing apart families with mixed citizenship and residence, and condemning people fleeing violence and poverty to dire circumstances.
This man is now developing national policy on important issues affecting women and families. What a way to round out your first 100 days in office, President Trump.