Racism and misogyny still won out over female leadership, worries Helen Swire

gender equality

Firstly, let me clarify – no, I don’t think that the Trump victory is exclusively the result of sexism. And I don’t think that Clinton was a dream candidate. But if the US election has taught us anything about women in the workplace, it is that many people are still woefully ill-prepared to accept female leadership – even when the alternative is a man who is openly racist and who has dismissed allegations of sexual assault as ‘locker room banter’.

While nobody bothered to ask hypocritical Trump what will become of both his wife and his ex-wife under his immigration crackdown, Bill Clinton’s past was laid at Hillary’s door repeatedly, and, while of course he has far from a clean image, she has been judged by her husband’s actions. And his past leadership. Because of course both would define how she, an independent and intelligent woman, would act as President.

It’s an international version of the commentary of Theresa May’s shoes. Does anyone remember a similar conversation about Mr Cameron’s footwear?

It’s a concern that these are high profile cases: but it’s more of a concern that gender issues are still a problem in the workplace as a whole.

Today is ‘Equal Pay Day’ – which is great in highlighting the gender pay gap issue, and a very necessary conversation.

But how very disappointing that in 2016 there is a need to have a conversation about the gender pay gap at all. Equally, that we have to have quotas to get more women on boards is a sad situation to be in, in the 21st century.

Hillary Clinton was, in many ways, a flawed candidate for the Presidency, and deeply distrusted by voters for many more reasons than just her gender.

But when the preferred alternative – and now leader of the free world – is openly misogynistic, as well as being racist, combative and politically inexperienced, it’s to be hoped that a serious conversation is opened about women in power, and the questions are finally asked about why there is still a fight for equality for 50% of the world’s population.