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Being A Woman In A World Full Of Trumps

15/11/2016 11:42

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"We have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling. But some day, someone will.... To all the little girls watching... never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world." - Hillary Clinton.

Did you leave work at 3.34pm last Thursday? Many women did in order to raise awareness that they are still paid 18% less than men for the same job. The 10th November marks Equal Pay Day - the day women effectively stop being paid for the year. Women have been campaigning for this since 1943 but at the current rate of progress it will still take 50 years to close the gender pay gap.

The day before women protested against their pay being defined by their gender, the inequality between men and women was cemented when Donald Trump was announced as the 45th President of the United States.

Appointing such a vile man with questionable ideas and morals was scary for a multitude of reasons - but not least because a rich white man with no experience got the most powerful job role in the world over a woman who was by far more qualified.

It appears that a woman who has served as Secretary of State and is a former First Lady seemed, to many, like a worse option than a misogynist with racist and bigoted views. Why? Because of an email scandal or perhaps because she was just that, a woman.

It would have been a momentous day to see Barack Obama hand the title over to the country's first female President, who would have worked with the UK's second female Prime Minister. Instead there is now fear for what the future holds under, not only an unqualified President, but one with such a ridiculous outlook.

There are many reasons he was voted in - and in fact 53% of white women and 42% of women overall, voted for him. But, it was also surprising and unsettling for the rest of us who never expected this nightmare to become a reality. A key reason we didn't see this coming was because of his attitude towards women.

Just months before the election a young male served just 3 months of a 6 month sentence for rape, which his father dismissed as "20 minutes of action." The short sentence was given because prison would have "a severe impact" and "adverse collateral consequences" on him.

What about the effect this has had on the female who was not only subjected to the sexual assault but who then faced personal questioning in court. Why is the rapists future worth more than his victims?

Why is it OK for women to be asked how much had you had to drink? What were you wearing? Did you flirt with him? Because regardless of what a woman drinks, what she wears and whether she flirts - none of these things make it OK to have sex with her when she is unconscious.

Here, in the UK, a young white footballer was found not guilty of raping a woman he admitted he had not spoken to before, during or after sex.

If women are already being disregarded as victims, what does a President who thinks it is OK to "grab her by the p***y" say to young men - what kind of role model is that. If their president can do it surely they can too, can't they?

While in America the next President thinks women should be punished for having an abortion, for us Brexit means women in the UK stand to suffer from the loss of an institution that supports their equal pay and maternity rights.

If it is a scary, uncertain future for white privileged women, what kind of future can women from minority groups expect? Will rights that have been fought tirelessly for be taken away in seconds? Only time will tell.

But, while we have no say in who becomes President of the United States and we definitely can't do anything to change it, we do have a choice in how we treat others. Neither gender nor race, sexuality or anything else for that matter should determine how we treat one another. Our differences should unite not divide us and to end as I began, with the words of Hillary Clinton, "love trumps hate."

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