It's been a while since the outcome of the US elections, but the dust around the new president-elect is nowhere near settled. Despite the new administration being formed, there is a lack of public clarity on how national issues are going to be tackled. Gender parity is among the most concerning problems, given the number of female-unfriendly statements made by Donald Trump during his election campaign and throughout his career.
Not long after the results, a company rating platform for women - InHerSight - analyzed how confident, career wise, women feel about Trump as a President. They found that over 75% of respondents feel worse about their career prospects, with only 8% saying the opposite. According to the same source, the majority's responses were based on Trump's vision of women.
However, his recent appointment of the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. executive Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary may be a hint of how the future of women in the workplace is going to look. A former economic advisor to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, Puzder is also an owner of a multi-billion-dollar fast food restaurant business, CKE Restaurants. Despite being overwhelmingly popular, a burger chain owned by the company, Carl’s jr, were criticized y for excessively-sexualized advertising campaigns and objectification of women. In his interview with Entrepreneur in 2015, Puzder explained: 'I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American. I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality.'
Additionally, Puzder is an active campaigner against an increase of overtime pay, as well as an advocate of anti-abortion. If these views prevail and influence future policies, people's working rights, national wage, and wellbeing of women in the workplace may be under threat.
However, Puzder's appointment may be postponed due to the following circumstances.
More than twenty Senate Democrats are calling for a thorough investigation of Puzder's CKE Restaurants Inc., where they have already found violations of basic working rights in more than 50% of cases. For example, the Carpinteria-based chain is facing numerous potential class-action lawsuits by employees, regarding wage and disputes. In their letter to the chairman of the Health, Education, and Pensions Committee, politicians said: 'It's essential that the committee hears from these employees and other Americans who have had first-hand experience with Mr Puzder or the businesses he has led.'
There is, however, a person who may make Trump's presidency less male-centric. Informally known as one of his greatest assets, Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka can become that bridge between her father's bold views and an adequate representation of women in the workplace.
So far, Ivanka has played one of the key roles in the election campaign, serving as a loyal Trump campaigner, but at the same time, she has managed to take an active position in the matters that Donald Trump tends to ignore or deny. According to Politico, Ivanka has been recently seeking advice from Goldman Sachs Foundation's president Dina Powell, who is often viewed as a leading voice on women's empowerment in the workplace. Reportedly, Ivanka is planning to further use her leadership skills and set a plan of becoming a national leader on women's economic empowerment. It's still unclear how this will work, but given her ability to influence some of her father's decisions, despite officially not being part of the transition team, there are chances that with time, Donald Trump may gain more trust amongst women despite his less than flattering past statements and actions.
Join over 100 female leaders at the Women In Strategy Summit, taking place in New York this March 21 & 22.