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Government Changeover

Oakland's Women's Day March (Photo by Jar. Licensed under Creative Commons)

Throughout 2016, equality and diversity has been a hot topic in the US – from workplace equality through to the treatment of citizens by law enforcement. During his election campaign, President Donald Trump played a large part in stirring and indeed stoking rows over gender, race, and other issues of diversity and equality. Now that his administration is in power, what can US citizens expect the impact will be on diversity and equality?

The immigration debate

Immigration is a hot issue in every country, but the recent US presidential race has really ignited the topic. In fact, in the very first days of the new government, the administration has already signed into law further restrictions on the ability of foreigners to enter the US. This includes the instruction to build a physical barrier along the border with Mexico, as well as additional vetting of citizens traveling from countries on a short list.

All signs are that the new administration will go as far as it can to restrict immigration further. This has an impact on diversity, as students and workers from other countries have a very big influence on the openness of a country and its desire in building an equal and diverse society – while also contributing to diversity in the first instance.

Women’s rights and equality

No one watching the US presidential race could avoid concluding that the new President of the United States has equality for women at the front of his mind. This is illustrated by the millions of women who marched in protest around the world, expressing their concern about the views of the country’s leader.

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Though laws and legislation that are already in place protecting women’s rights are not at a very high risk of being withdrawn, it is very likely that the government change will delay any further progress for women’s equality and issues such as diversity on company management boards.

Groups defending the rights of minorities

Even if the US has a leader that will not stand up for equality and diversity, there are groups who will. The widely known American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has done a lot of work defending minority groups around the country, ensuring that every citizen gets equal treatment, while also pressing the government, organizations, and businesses to behave reasonably when it comes to diversity.

Small groups and indeed individuals also do their part in the fight against discrimination and inequality. For example, Luke Visconti of DiversityInc focuses on the corporate world’s behavior on inclusion and diversity, publishing a Top 50 list of the most diverse US corporations.

The future of diversity in the US

In fact, it is up to each one of us to make sure that equality and diversity progresses in this country. A new administration may be a setback, but the path to equal rights has been one of two steps forward and one step back for a long time. While diversity is not yet celebrated in every area and by everyone in the US, it is much more commonplace than it used to be, and we can all make a difference in making sure that we do not lose too much progress over the next four years.

Amanda Nicholson