State Department officials are worried after receiving instructions from the Trump transition team to hand over information about “gender-related staffing, programming, and funding.”
The Washington Post obtained a copy of the request, which requested information on all activities and existing programs that “promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence, promoting women’s participation in economic and political spheres, entrepreneurship, etc.”
Although the report did not ask for the names of officials working on these programs, the team requested that each office, “should note positions whose primary functions are to promote such issues.”
The request comes on the heels of the Energy Department refusing to release the names of department officials who worked on the Paris Climate change accords to the transition team.
The requests are ambiguous, but State Department officials are concerned the information could be used to target political appointees and career officials working on these programs.
“It’s not clear to us what the intent is behind this request,” the official said. “The Trump team could be looking to advance gender issues and make it a priority — or you could look at it as a witch hunt.”
Democratic leadership are demanding an explanation for the transition team’s request. In an interview with Washington Post ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, responded directly to the request, “transition officials need to explain, immediately, why this alarming demand was made,” Engel said. “It’s troubling that the Trump transition team seems to be singling out this issue and those who work on it. Last week, my colleagues and I sent a clear signal that we wouldn’t tolerate the targeting of State Department employees by the next Administration.”
Under the Obama Administration that State Department has taken an active role in advocating for women’s and gender issues throughout the world. Officials are concerned the President elect’s requests forecast a dark future for women’s rights and equality in a Trump administration.