The Trump administration confirmed this week plans to roll back an Obama-era policy aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap.
The proposed policy would have required employers to collect detailed salary information broken down by gender, ethnicity, and race starting in the spring of next year.
Ivanka Trump, who has long touted the importance of wage equality and workplace protections for women backed the decision and said that the policy “would not yield the intended results.”
An administration official from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs added that the policy would be “enormously burdensome” on employers.
Under the rule, any company employing more than 100 workers would have been responsible for reporting extensive information about their employees’ salaries to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2018, with some requirements beginning as early as next month.
In 2016, the median wage of a woman working full-time year-round was only 79% of a man’s annual earnings. For women of color, that figure was even lower.
A 2016 Pew Research Poll found that for every dollar a white man makes, a black woman makes 65 cents -- 17 cents lower than an average white woman. Hispanic women fare even worse, earning 58 cents on the dollar in 2015.
The Obama-era policy was intended to close that gap by bolstering the government’s ability to penalize companies that do not pay their male and female employees an equal wage.
But some supporters of the rollback believe that the measure would have gone as far as to hurt job and wage prospects for all workers, especially women and minorities, for whom the policy was originally intended to help.
“Boxes on government forms simply can’t capture sufficient data to explain differences in wages and promotions based on employee behavior and preferences,” Romina Boccia, a fiscal and economic expert at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, wrote. “The result is less flexibility and more rigidity in the workplace.”
More rigidity in the workplace, Roccia explained, means more rigid pay structures.
Women’s rights advocates and progressive groups, however, have been quick to criticize Trump’s rollback.
“Today’s action sends a clear message to employers: if you want to ignore pay inequities and sweep them under the rug, this administration has your back,” Fatima Goss Graves, the president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement.
The press secretary for Emily’s List, an organization that encourages women to run for elected office, Alexandra De Luca, claimed that the White House has pushed a “relentless anti-woman agenda.”
“Based on what we’ve seen so far,” she added, “there’s nothing shocking about Ivanka, self-styled champion for women, turning her back on women when it suits her or her father.”
The First daughter has announced she intends to work with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Management and Budget and Congress to create “robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.”