Theresa May Is Just Another Professional Woman Dragged Down By Unprofessional Men

When women make mistakes, they are marked incompetent, stupid, unsuited. Yet when men make mistakes, they face little further judgement on their character or their ability.

Dressed in a red suit, her hair blowing in the uncompromising wind, Theresa May confirmed her intention to resign as prime minister on Friday. In a speech which outlined her infamous determination and resolve, Theresa May confirmed she would resign from office on Friday 7 June.

In doing so, May will trigger a Conservative leadership election, one of the most important in the country’s history. While there are numerous ministers and backbenchers supposedly set to confirm their intention to stand, it’s notable that Boris Johnson is the current frontrunner. So, picture this, within a matter of weeks he could be the next prime minister.

In essence, we could be replacing one of the most collected and professional women in politics – I have no idea how she’s handled the last few months but it should be bottled and sold en masse – with one of the most unprofessional of men. And in some ways, that’s much of his public appeal.

It would be moderately alarming and eyebrow raising if this was an exception but, as part of what now seems to be an emerging trend, it’s a prospect that should be unsettling. Despite the moderate advancements that have been made towards equality within the political world, around the globe, unprofessional, inexperienced men are being promoted over experienced, professional women. And it’s a trend that needs to be talked about.

There’s an often overlooked double standard in how male and female politicians are assessed within the political world, with women often being judged under a much stricter magnifying glass that that of their male counterparts.

When Diane Abbott made her now famous mathematical error on police pay during a 2017 interview with LBC, she was ridiculed and declared unfit for public office. Yet, by contrast, Boris Johnson published comments that referred to burka wearing Muslim women as ‘post boxes’, he was considered brave for expressing his offensive beliefs. And is now potentially set to be the next prime minister.

When women make mistakes, they are seen as being incompetent, stupid and unsuited for the political world. Yet, when men make mistakes, they are seen as having made mistakes, are seen as figures of fun and face little further judgement on their character or their ability.

Yet, this is just the average politician being criticised in a far from standardised way but electoral trends are now showing us that women are being further punished should they dare to enter any kind of political contest.

We only have to look to the United States to see the full consequences of this phenomenon in action. At the 2016 election, Donald Trump was new to the political foray, with no actual political experience but bundles of supposed ‘character’. On the other hand, you had Hillary Clinton, a woman who had spent the past five decades living and breathing the political life. Whilst she was undoubtedly tainted by hers, and her husbands, past behaviour, she was certainly a much more respectable and experienced candidate. Throughout the campaign, Clinton often faced criticism for her outfit and her hairstyle selections, whilst Trump’s hair has now become a signature of the his unprofessional appearance.

Yet more concerningly, Clinton was often misjudged for her marriage to former president Bill Clinton. It was he that had an affair and yet, it was often her that faced criticism. And it’s not a phenomenon that is unique to the United States. During the Labour Party leadership election of 2015, which saw Jeremy Corbyn triumph over his more experienced counter parts, a similar rhetoric was noted. In this election, experienced politician Yvette Cooper chose to stand and was an initial front runner. Yet swathes of people immediately declared themselves unable to vote for such a politician. Why? Well, not because of her political beliefs or past voting record, but because of her marriage to divisive politician Ed Balls.

Women are often are judged by the relationships that they hold and are traditionally seen as being ‘tainted’ by such associations. It’s a trend that is intrinsically sexist and outdated, as it suggests that women are still unable to differentiate their partners opinion from their own.

But amongst all of this, there is hope for the future and the 2020 presidential election could now see more women than ever choosing to be considered for the White House. So, despite everything, it seems that on the whole, women are more determined than ever and are not yet being deterred by this damaging trend.

As is the case with fad diets, fashion and even politics trends, by their own nature, fade into history, and when they do someone has to be there to pick up the pieces. In this case – just as Theresa May has attempted to do with Brexit – professional women will be there to clean up after unprofessional men.

Great, so what is it that we do in the meantime?

We, as a collective,, have to stand up to the often dominating status quo and challenge outdated and misjudged traditions. We have to fight back at elections, and do so by standing and ensuring that people vote, making our voices heard and refusing to be silenced.

But more importantly, we have to take a leaf out of Theresa May’s book and stand resilient in the face of such a storm.

The roads of history are paved with stories of fantastic women and when backlash culture dies, we will be there to pick up the pieces.


What's Hot