After the U.S. election and inauguration, some supporters have contacted us asking for LiveYourDream.org to publicly clarify its position with regard to the new U.S. administration.
LiveYouDream.org / Soroptimist has never held a political party allegiance and never will. We have supporters from both sides of the political aisle that come together to promote the common cause of the empowerment of women and girls. This marriage of unity and diversity makes us unique, and we’ve witnessed how it can be a powerful recipe for change!
Whatever your political affiliation, we can all agree women face great barriers. Women need access to education, fair wages, healthcare, leadership roles, and safety.
And women need elected officials to hear their needs and take action.
Although we are a nonpartisan organization, this does not mean we won’t speak up when necessary on behalf of the women and girls we serve.
Over the years, we’ve consistently advocated for women in girls in partnership with Soroptimist International and the UN. We’ve also advocated for legislation (like VAWA) through LiveYourDream.org because violence, economic instability, and lack of education are directly affected by decisions of the U.S. government. When government services are reduced or restricted, it places greater burdens on disadvantaged women and girls. Advocacy is a way for volunteers and activists to amplify the voices of the women and girls we serve through our programs.
The new administration under President Donald Trump has yet to make women and girls an explicit priority on their 2017 policy platform, and they have made some troubling statements related to issues that are important to Soroptimist / LiveYourDream.org, such as:
- Violence Against Women. 58.3% of our Live Your Dream Awards recipients have been affected by domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. The administration is relying heavily on a budget blueprint that cuts funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs. This would hamper ongoing efforts for domestic violence prevention and response, as well as eliminating victim support services.
- Access to Education. The administration made statements about downsizing the Department of Education by cutting federal funding for public schools and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Eliminating the Office for Civil Rights would be devastating to survivors of sexual assault and would curtail educational access.
- Women’s Representation in Government Leadership. Though women make up 51% of the U.S. population, women are just 12.5% of President Trump’s cabinet. Ability to access leadership positions is critical to the social and economic empowerment of women and girls.
- Access to Healthcare. The administration is moving to reform health care, which many argue is a much-needed change. However the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities predicts that Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) could be cut by more than 26% by 2024, threatening the health and safety of millions of women, and low-income families—just like the families we support on a regular basis. 70.5% of Live Your Dream Awards recipients and their children are in poverty.
Because these policies would impede the work we do to empower women and girls, we have asked supporters to come together and reiterate the importance of women’s progress to elected officials. We are unified in this commitment to our mission.
As we clarify our goals to establish ourselves as a global leader in social and economic empowerment for women and girls, we hope our supporters will continue to hold us accountable for this mission. Respectful dialogue and appropriate action is the only path forward.
Thank you all for your ongoing support of our collective empowerment efforts!
– The Dream Team, LiveYourDream.org