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January 19 2018

On the eve of second women's march, a look at women's economic progress in 2017

by Hadley Heath

One of the persistent narratives about President Trump’s candidacy and time in office has been that he is anti-woman. Of course, his crude comments about “grabbing” women earned him plenty of disgust from both sides of the aisle. When he took office about one year ago, nearly half a million women marched in protest.
 
This weekend, the second annual Women’s March is scheduled to take place. 
 
But as angry as marchers may be toward President Trump, it would be difficult for them to deny that most American women are better off than they were one year ago. Of course, there are plenty of ways we can all continue to advocate for a better life for women (and men) in America. But for many, a better life is becoming reality. 
 
The current unemployment rate for women is 3.7 percent the lowest since January 2001. Since just January 2017, women have filled 863,000 jobs, and 573,000 women have joined the work force. Wages are increasing for both men and women. And the stock market has soared to record highs, putting more money in the investment accounts of millions of American families who are saving for college or retirement. 
 
In 2017, the Small Business Administration made $128 million more in loans to women-owned businesses than in 2016. This is money that businesses can use to invest and grow.
 
Of course, no sitting president can or should take full credit for complex economic indicators that rely on a wide variety of factors. However, it’s clear that the Trump agenda of deregulation and tax reform are fostering the right environment for better economic growth, which translates to booming markets. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act alone will restore $5.5 trillion to the private sector. Sixty percent of that money, or $3.2 trillion, will go directly to families. 
 
As we push on to combat sexual harassment and to expand paid leave options for parents, we shouldn’t ignore this important economic progress and what it means in the lives of American women and families. There are always challenges, sure, but good news too often doesn't make the headlines. 
 
Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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