A picture of an all-male White House meeting to discuss maternity and pregnancy care under a new health bill has sparked outrage around the world.
The image shared by US Vice President Mike Pence on social media shows a room of 25 men discussing changes to a new healthcare bill that will affect pregnancy and maternity care, alongside birth control and abortion.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) March 23, 2017
Another photo was then later posted on Twitter by President Donald Trump’s special assistant, Cliff Sims, which shows 28 men and just one woman, Kelly-Anne Conway present.
Thousands of people have taken to Twitter and other forms of social media to register their anger against the photo. The image represents statistics from across boardrooms around the world and raises questions of, ‘where are all the women?’
Planned Parenthood kicked off the outrage stating, “Here’s the picture of the leaders negotiating away birth control, maternity care & abortion. Notice anything?”
Here’s the picture of the leaders negotiating away birth control, maternity care & abortion. Notice anything? #ProtectOurCare
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) March 23, 2017
The reaction comes just weeks after a Saudi Arabian girls’ council meeting, in which photos showed 13 men and no women in attendance. According to reports, female members were present on the day, but held in a different room due to a state policy of gender segregation between unrelated men and women.
The women could be seen via a video link where they joined in discussing women’s issues.
Prince Faisal bin Mishal bin Saud, the province’s governor, is proud that the initiative is the first of its kind in the kingdom. He said:
“In the Qassim region, we look at women as sisters to men, and we feel a responsibility to open up more and more opportunities that will serve the work of women and girls,”
Princess Abir bint Salman is both Prince Faisal’s wife and the head of the council, but was not present at the meeting.
Saudi Arabia has a policy of segregation between the sexes. Women still cannot drive or compete in sports. There is also a law stating that all women must have a male guardian, typically a husband, father or brother, who gives them permission to study, travel abroad or marry.