US result shows fight for gender equality must go on

US result shows fight for gender equality must go on

Following the US election result WE renew our vow to build a global political movement for women’s empowerment

9 November 2016

Today WE mark a double disaster: America’s rejection of what could have been its first female president and those voters’ acceptance of misogyny. Because let’s be clear: this was a referendum on the political consensus that gender equality is a desirable goal. WE are devastated to see America no longer focused on that goal.

Donald Trump threatens not only to halt progress for American women, but to dismantle existing rights, such as access to abortions, contraception and sexual health checks. Every vote for him threatened women’s control of their bodies and signalled the mainstreaming of the view that it’s ok to grab us “by the pussy”.

Trump’s success demonstrates so clearly what women are up against when we try to speak up. When we try to take our rightful place alongside men in politics and in business and in all aspects of public life.

His win also signals a worrying move deeper into “post-truth politics.” He has won by harnessing rage and fear to falsehood, building a path to the White House upon the number of voters he duped with lies about everything from the trade deficit to climate change; from Isis to his past position on Iraq; from Clinton’s tax plan to her childcare policies. 

We could have had a thrilling political alternative to past centuries of glacial progress towards equality for women. Instead today gender equality, already a distant prospect, is in danger of receding further - unless we all fight back. The racism exposed by Trump’s win means now more than ever we must continue to build a truly intersectional feminism that recognises and responds to the many layers of discrimination faced by women of colour.

This is not just America’s problem. Trump may himself have access to enormous wealth but he cannot spread wealth to the rest of the US economy unless he gives equal opportunities to all. And until he understands the vital importance of women’s equality, he threatens social and economic advance that is vital to global development. And until he understands that we are stronger together, he will continue to divide as a means to conquer.

WE vow to continue and extend the work we have started in the United Kingdom to build a global political movement for women’s empowerment that shows Trump and all his ilk to be politicians of the past.