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“Millions voted to show that that misogyny doesn’t matter”: Why Trump’s win proves the feminist fight must go on

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sophie walker

Ask A Feminist is our regular column tackling issues on sexism and womanhood in a real-life, 21st century context. This week, leader of the Women's Equality Party, Sophie Walker, expresses her dismay at Donald Trump’s success, and explains why it proves that misogyny is still alive and well – and that we mist continue the fight for gender equality more than ever.


On Tuesday 8 November, I attended an event to promote progressive politics where one of the male speakers described the dangers of Donald Trump without making a single reference to the sexism pervasive in his racist discourse or his deep and public misogyny.

On Wednesday, following Trump’s election, a male friend posted on Facebook an ironic comment offering a silver lining to Trump’s success: at least we now know that nothing you do or say can ever come back to haunt you, he said. Um, so long as you’re a man, I responded.

The U.S. election result is an untold disaster for women.

The U.S. election result is an untold disaster for women. Not just because we lost a thrilling opportunity to see what could happen when the world’s most powerful person is a woman who cares about gender equality, but because millions of Americans voted both to condone racism, and to show that that misogyny doesn’t matter at all. And when even the good men are struggling to remember us, we women need now more than ever to take up space.


Read more: An open letter to what should have been the first female leader of the USA


The forces of injustice and inequality - and they are forces, let there be no doubt; massing globally with more potency that we have seen for decades - don’t see women. Not really. Despite targeting us and discriminating against us and silencing us and shutting us down, they still don’t see us. Trump’s own brand of racist patriarchy doesn’t see us. It doesn’t see people of colour, or the LGBT+ community, or Muslims. And it promises answers to a disenfranchised population without acknowledging the structural inequalities that hold us all back, whatever our individual identities.

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"We women need now more than ever to take up space."

Because so long as we condone a politics that erases people of colour, or LGBT+ people, or entire religions - the faster we erase women. There is no politics that lifts women up whilst tearing down whole communities by enabling prejudice.

And so long as women also see voting for a racist candidate with a history of sexual assault above a woman standing to extend women’s rights - and let’s be clear that 52% of white women in America voted for this president-elect - then we have our work cut out for us.

Trump has won on a platform of rolling back women’s rights. 

Because that’s what the forces of racism and patriarchy do: they turn us against each other by teaching us that the injustices we face are our own fault. They encourage women to cling to the privilege they know, instead of reaching for a world where all of us are equal.

I woke up yesterday feeling frightened and sad. Trump has won on a platform of rolling back women’s rights. He has made it acceptable to suggest that women should not have control over their own bodies.


Read more: An open letter to my daughter as Donald Trump becomes President


Here in the United Kingdom cuts to health spending are already having a direct impact over our access to abortion and contraception - something the Women’s Equality Party will be discussing at our first party conference at the end of this month.

We know there’s vital work to be done to maintain our own protections as Brexit negotiations continue. This result should show us that there’s no room for complacency.

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"I am determined today more than ever to make space for women’s voices."

Trump won on a platform of racist hate. I woke up this morning feeling frightened as a woman, but as a white, middle-class woman I know that my fear is only a version of what Black and Asian and ethnic minority women experience every day - and never more so than now.

I am ashamed that white women voted for Trump. If there was anyone out there in doubt that feminism needs to understand and incorporate race, ethnicity and every intersection of diversity, let them now be very clear on that score.

This is not just America’s problem. 

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.


Read more: An open letter to my daughter as Donald Trump becomes President


As leader of the Women’s Equality Party I am determined today more than ever to make space for women’s voices and put feminist policies at the heart of progressive politics. I am determined more than ever to build a movement for equality that is dynamic because it is driven by diversity. And I am determined to 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.

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