It’s 2016, and the world is on the brink of being run by a lot of women in high places.
Theresa May takes the role as recent Prime Minster, Hillary Clinton as likely and predicted (according to current opinion polls) president of the United States, Angela Eagle a potential labour leader in the recent vote of no confidence, and with Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood needing a brief mention as women who are more progressive and awe-inspiring than the leaders of the ‘free world’.
Surely, this idea should bring joy, with the possibilities ranging from every side of an albeit white woman in a position of significant power.
But it’s undoubtedly a shallow victory.
Focussing more upon the US and UK leaders, of Theresa May and Hillary Clinton – these are not women who have views to support women or the ideological left.
Unsurprisingly, Margaret Thatcher is hardly heralded as the feminist icon of the 80s, stating herself she ‘owed nothing to women’s lib’ – throwing women under the bus as soon as she had the chance. Freezing child benefits, criticising working mothers and wholeheartedly supporting the efficiency of a man over a woman.
The idea of being an ‘iron lady’ is where the issue lies. Compassion is seen as a weakness in women, a typical female feature that would ‘cloud’ their judgement in times of extreme pressure and need. So do women of power become this ruthless, cruel persona to prove wrong the men who decide their path to the top?
I’d argue it’s not necessary, but within the system is it needed to prove your female worth?
Theresa May is notoriously anti-immigration, parading a van with the slogan ‘go home or get arrested’ directed towards illegal immigrants. And her ideas of promoting gay rights is questionable – voting against local authorities ‘promoting homosexuality’, against gay adoption in 2002, and only dropped her opposition to gay marriage in 2013…hardly a shining resume.
Although she has spent time on promoting funding for rape crisis centres and dealings of domestic abuse cases by the police, it still falls short – surely that is the minimum should expect rather than applauding?
She continues to pedal the cuts that severely hit the less fortunate sector of society, with a high proportion of BAME women being hit, because – fundamentally, you can’t be a tory AND a feminist.
Angela Eagle is a politician who I willed forward previously, but her Machiavellian tearing down of Corbyn, who has worked furiously to protect all women within society, has made me question her judgement slightly.
And Hillary Clinton’s chokingly white feminist ideals can’t cover up her support for acts such as her 2008 campaign focussing rhetoric around getting rid of Muslims and Mexicans, and her unanimous support for the Iraq war. Clinton is the lesser of two evils, but one that is grown from rich, white privilege and is far too right wing to be lorded as the feminist’s dream.
Women are getting into positions of power, but at what cost? Giving fuel to the argument ‘sexism is over’ while the females in power pedal the institutions that perpetuate the levels of misogyny and oppression which prevent equality to ever be obtained.