The glass ceiling is bad for business: Trump’s all-male brain trust is how we get economic policies that don’t add up

Studies show businesses with diverse boards make better decisions — someone tell Trump's 13 male economic advisers

Published August 16, 2016 2:46PM (EDT)

Donald Trump   (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)
Donald Trump (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

Steve. Harold. Howard. Steven. Tom. Stephen. John. Andy. Steve, again. David. Peter. Stephen, again. Dan.

This is the list of Donald Trump’s economic advisory team, led by campaign staffers (yet another Stephen and another Dan). No need to read again — it’s what you thought. There are no women on this list. None. Zero.

There are more men named Steve than there are women.

There are more men with qualifications of “poker player” than there are women.

There are more men with the title “chairman” than there are women.

And only one of them is an actual economist — several are a bunch of his rich donor friends.

Why is this a problem? Studies (this one, and this one, and this one) show that when boards and groups include women at the decision-making table, more perspectives are heard and better decisions are made. In short, more inclusivity equals success.

By not including women on his economic advisory team, Donald Trump is actively choosing to shut out perspectives that could shed light on the economic insecurity American women are facing.

It is this kind of close-minded thinking that likely led Donald Trump to release his plan to make childcare more affordable, in an economic policy speech that was criticized for being light on specifics. Trump’s all-male economic team thought that the way to help women and families pay for the rising costs of childcare was to make the cost of care tax-deductible. But here is where this all-male group failed:

  • This plan would really only help the wealthiest few, like them. Most working-class families do not pay federal taxes on their incomes and most families do not itemize their deductions. For the vast majority of Americans, this change is useless.
  • Childcare costs are usually billed weekly or monthly, while Trump’s tax deduction would be just once a year. Trump’s group of Steves may not know what it’s like to stretch the paycheck to the next pay period or struggle to pay the bills each month, but millions of women and their families do.

This tone-deafness in policy — not to mention rhetoric — shouldn’t be all that surprising: In the last few weeks alone we’ve heard Donald defend sexual harassment at work, suggesting that women should just “find another career” (because that is so easy). We’ve listened to him say that women should just work harder to earn equal pay for equal work, never mind holding employers accountable when they pay women less than a man for doing the same job.

And what’s more terrifying for working women: Independent analysis by Moody’s showed that his jobs plan would destroy 3.4 million jobs and send us back into a recession.

It is clear that Donald Trump and his team of Steve’s is out of touch with the reality of American women’s lives — at home and in the workplace. At a time when women and families are struggling to get ahead, ignoring almost half the labor force on an economic advisory team isn’t just bad politics; it’s a sign of a man who ignores the perspectives, the voices, and the views of women. We can’t wait until November — when we’ll finally get to ignore him.

By Kate Black

Kate Black is the vice president of research at EMILY's list

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Donald Trump Elections 2016 Feminism Glass Ceiling