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US accepts a flawed man, but not a flawed woman

11/11/2016
The world's top job once again goes to a white anglo-saxon man. This time it also goes to a man who has a history of treating women like something he scraped off the bottom of his shoe. A man who has bragged about "grabbing women by the pussy" and said we should be "punished for having abortions."
 
Even worse, this has happened in America. A democratic and well-governed country that prides itself on being the leader of the free world. One of Australia's closest allies and trading partners.

What does it mean for 50 per cent of the world's population that someone who has spent years using and abusing women - much of it caught on tape and in print, and often freely confessed by Trump himself - is now the President of the United States? 

In what the great feminist, Gloria Steinem, describes in The Guardian today as the 'white-lash' and the 'man-lash,' Americans voted in an "unqualified candidate who came up not through politics, but through inheriting money, a gift for bullying, and being on television." They chose this candidate because they allowed their resentment of someone who believes in the rights of women, children, people of different race and ethnicity and those in the LGBTI community to spill over at the ballot box. 

A man whose morals, ethics and values have been on clear display throughout the campaign. A man who symbolises the old hierarchies and prejudices of the world. A man whose behaviour and attitudes towards women have been widely deplored.

Yet still they voted for him, rather than elect a woman to power. 

In other words, voters in the great democracy of America will accept a flawed man, but they will not accept a flawed woman as their president.

As David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, wrote in his brilliant piece on the day after the election, "Hillary was a flawed candidate but a resilient, intelligent, and competent leader, who never overcame her image among millions of voters as untrustworthy and entitled....and yet she was less trusted than Trump, a flim-flam man who cheated his customers, investors, and contractors; a hollow man whose countless statements and behavior reflect a human being of dismal qualities—greedy, mendacious, and bigoted."

So are Americans prepared to 'walk past the standard they will accept' when it comes to their President? Or are they (and we by implication) prepared to accept a standard of behaviour in our leaders such as has been displayed by Trump for most of his public life?

The question is what will I, what will you and what will we all collectively do about it? 
 
As I see it, the challenge to us all - as individuals, communities and organisations - is to continue to keep the dream alive for those who come behind us and stand on our shoulders. The dream that women can and will lead our corporations and our countries.

Women on Boards is proud to be committed to this vision. We invite you to stand with us.
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