Feminism Around the World: What Women In Other Countries Fear From a Trump Presidency
Welcome to Feminism Around the World, a weekly feature here at TMS where we focus on women’s lives and feminist concerns … around the world. TMS is a US-based website, but we think it’s important to connect with women all over the globe to applaud successes, report injustices, and amplify the conversation around solutions to gender-based inequality. Because “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” – Teresa
INTERNATIONAL: Women Around the World Share Their Concerns About a Trump Presidency
In this special edition of Feminism Around the World, I’m bringing the United States into it, because we just had our Presidential election, and the results of that election don’t only affect us. Our President, the decisions they make, and the people and policies they support, also affect our relationships with and the economies of countries around the world, so I wanted to devote the column this week to the concerns of women around the world with regard to an impending Trump Presidency.
First, though, I wanted to share this interesting video from the New York Times, where they talk about the fact that the U.S. is so far behind other countries in electing a female head of state:
They also go into the reasons why this might be the case. One factor is that many of the female heads of state in other countries were the daughters or wives of male heads of state that had already been in power. Another factor is that the very nature of the way many countries run their governments, with a focus on social welfare programs, is seen as “maternal,” which is another manifestation of sexism, but at least women can play this one to their advantage and be elected to public office more easily. Whereas here in the United States, the office of the President is too closely associated with being Commander-in-Chief of the military, and is therefore seen as a more “masculine” job. Regardless of the reason, I applaud countries that have understood much sooner than we seem to have that women can be extremely capable leaders.
As for the US’s current President-elect, women all over the world, both celebrity and non, have been making their feelings known about Trump. Motto did a round up that included voices from the Middle East and Africa:
“I don’t see [Donald] Trump championing any women’s rights issues. I think he’s a massive setback and the world’s women are conscious of that.”
– Lina Abirafeh, director of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, at Lebanese American University in Beirut
“It’s frustrating in terms of not seeing the first American woman be elected as president. That was our dream. For us in the global women’s movement, we were hoping that Hillary would make it.”
– Bineta Diop, the African Union’s Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security
Dazed included this tweet from Pussy Riot in Russia, where the people know a thing or two about dealing with a President who’s taking their rights away.
Looks like Putin was the first world leader who congratulated Trump. Hello, Putin. Hello, Trump. Hello, creepy patriarchal selfish morons.
— Pussy Riot (@pussyrrriot) November 9, 2016
VICE’s site Broadly focused on its correspondents in some of our closest neighbors, as well as Europe:
Sarah Hagi, Broadly Canada
I can’t wrap my head around Trump winning. The thought of him winning, as someone whose life is really influenced by a neighbouring country—it makes me feel unsafe. I’m black and Muslim, so I will definitely never visit the United States unless there’s some kind of miracle and he goes to jail or gets ousted somehow. I used to think any country that elects an asshole like Trump deserves it—but this election totally changed my way of thinking. The millions of minorities who this will hurt don’t deserve what will happen, and I can only hope they will find protection and safety somehow.
Ivonne Gutiérrez, VICE Mexico
Honestly, I’m not especially thrilled about either of the candidates. However, I really think that Trump is the worst possible choice. Hate and racism won today. I’m very sad to stand in this political moment in history. The only thing that can save us now, not only US but all of us, is to fight back with love, justice and tolerance. Let’s not give up, the fight goes on.
Alejandra Nuñez, Broadly Spain
To be honest, I’m not surprised with the results of this election. To me, Donald Trump is the living portrait of what comes to my mind when I think about “the American Dream” and all that shit. As a citizen of Spain, a country where since 2011 a president as moronic and fascist as Donald Trump governs, I can tell you that life for women will not be as tragic as you expect. I mean, it truly is tragic, but all that hatred towards women will make all females join each other to fight for their rights. I feel like since Rajoy is the president of Spain there’s been a rise of the feminist movement in our country so hopefully this will happen in the US too.
Andreea Pocotila, VICE Romania
I woke up early this morning with my mom, who is visiting us, staring at me and asking me: “Did you see? He won! How is it possible?” At first I thought she must have misunderstood, but I soon I realized. For some time, I remained silent. How could I answer her? I still don’t have any answers.
I got to the newsroom and started working on an article about how Americans living in Romania feel about Trump’s victory. One of them said he feels sad that now American people have to explain to their children that a misogynist and a bully is president. I agree with this, because this victory makes it okay to offend women, immigrants, whole countries, and many others.
There are so many troubling issues about Donald Trump that I don’t even know where to begin to make a list. But the most disturbing is probably the fact that usually people filter what they say—they don’t share everything that’s on their mind. And when a man talks to his friends and colleagues—openly—about grabbing women by the pussy, I don’t even want to know what things Donald Trump thinks privately.
And I reached out to my networks for some “woman-on-the-street” POV action (all quotes used with permission) on Facebook:
Sylvie-Anne Goulet Casey (Canada): “As a Canadian, I’m scared of the economic repercussions in my country. We’re also your biggest ally. What if we’re targeted by terrorist groups?”
Farrah Zaine (France/Lebanon): “I was terrified because im three minorities wrapped into one i am born Muslim/Arab/ and I’m a woman, lol. I know its gonna be scary because he is simply not prepared or educated to lead such a role but since his win until now he kept surprising me with his shift of opinions all I have to say is patience is a virtue he is definitely taking USA somewhere different.”
And on Twitter:
@teresajusino that young boys in other countries will look to America as an example and see the personification of misogyny as a leader.
— Barbara Alejandra (@polyjuiceaddict) November 16, 2016
— not your girl🌟 (@ilsaestefania) November 16, 2016
There’s a lot of unease among women around the world now that Trump is our President-elect. As we go about our lives and figure out how we will go about fighting for the communities and causes we care about at home, let’s not forget that we’re not only interconnected here in the US, but with other countries, too. Let’s remember to support the fights of our sisters around the world. We need each other now more than ever.
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