Why it matters that there are no women in this photo of Trump's health care meeting.

Something is missing from this picture.

I'll give you a hint: It's the same thing that was missing from this picture, taken a month earlier.

Photo by Ron Sachs/Getty Images.

In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting any foreign aid organization that performs abortions from receiving federal funds.


No women were there to witness it.

Now Trump is moving forward with plans to make significant changes to America's health care system. And — as Trump's tweet showed — once again, women are nowhere to be seen.

50% of all Americans are women. Much like men, women sometimes get sick and have to go to the doctor. They also face some unique health care challenges — particularly related to the having of babies and the planning of if or when to have them.  

While it's true that none of the health insurance CEOs in the photo Trump tweeted are women and that his Health and Human Services secretary is a man and that all of his top advisers are male, sure, it's certainly possible his administration will involve women in its health care project somewhere along the line.

But given that he hasn't seen fit to include women thus far, the optics sure are fishy.

Not consulting women on health policy decisions leaves women with fewer options and more expensive care.

Before Obamacare prohibited "gender rating" health plans, women on some plans paid up to 80% more in premiums than men — often on the grounds that women's specific health care requirements, like birth control, gynecology, and mammograms, are somehow "extra."

Obamacare's contraception mandate, which requires insurers to cover birth control, is already under fire from conservative lawmakers who want to strike it from law, again on the assumption that such coverage should be considered optional because men don't require it.

Separately, Congress is getting dangerously close to defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection care, and reproductive health services to millions of women every year. The organization has already issued a warning that our existing infrastructure can't absorb the patients who would be displaced if it's forced to shut down.

This is what happens when the people in charge — who are often men — don't stop to ask women what they need.

Trump, historically, hasn't been all that great at understanding things that are outside his own very specific personal experience.

At a recent press conference, Trump expressed his frustration with the slow pace of Obamacare reform, saying, "Nobody knew health care could be so complicated." While it's true that he probably didn't realize that (after all, as a lifelong rich person, he's probably never had to worry about health care), just about everyone else on planet Earth — right, left, and center — did.

Trump, like most members of Congress and, apparently, health insurance company CEOs, has never been a woman. He's never been pregnant. He's never taken hormonal birth control. He's never had a mammogram or a pap smear. He's probably never bought tampons. The notion that he and a dozen male health honchos can hammer out a plan that's fundamentally fair to women and takes their particular challenges into account without consulting or involving women in the process is dubious at best.

The obvious next step? Trump needs to ask women what they need out of a health care law.

Women! Photo via iStock.

The good news is that there are plenty who are more than qualified to give the president some notes. He could ask any number of the dozens of female Ph.D.s at American universities who study health policy. He could ask Oregon Gov. Kate Brown or Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, who oversaw successful implementations of the Affordable Care Act in their states.

Health insurer CEOs certainly aren't the be-all-end-all of advice, but if Trump wanted to ask one, he could get even in touch with Karen Ignagni of EmblemHealth.

Getting some women in the room isn't a panacea.

Trump is stubborn, and ultimately Congress is going to be the primary driver of Obamacare repeal and replace anyway. But for a president whose opinion seems to be moved by the last person he spoke to, having some qualified ladies tell him about the need for birth control, safe abortion, and cervical cancer screenings couldn't hurt. And he should want to hear from them!

Heck, even asking Ivanka would be a step forward.

She seems to favor a more gender-balanced approach to decision-making after all.

It might not change his approach.

But dear God. He could at least ask.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.