By Eloise Carey
Fewer than half of women believe they have the same opportunities as men, according to a new survey by IPSO. In contrast, almost two-thirds of the men think there is equality of opportunity among the sexes.
Following Trump’s inauguration, this sense of unease has begun spilling into the political arena. At its climax was the Women’s Marches, 4.5 million turning out in over 603 different cities to protest. One of the 100,000 marching in London said she was there “out of solidarity for all the women and other groups marginalised by Trump’s politics.”
However, despite the apparent antipathy between Trump and American women, the breakdown of the vote tells of a different reality. The tendency of the media to describe women as if they are a single voting bloc is leading to neglect of differences in race, age, education and political orientation. Trump, in fact, found support among women, specifically white women without college degrees, 61% of whom voted for him. Commentators have begun to refer to this group of women as ‘shy Trump voters.’
Interviews with these voters demonstrated diverse reasons for their support; worries about the economy, anger about the Affordable Care Act, protection of Second Amendment rights, fear of immigration and terrorism, and opposition to abortion. These statistics are acting to disprove the commonly held view that people only voted for Trump because they despise Clinton.
The Women’s Marches were undoubtedly an incredible show of solidarity among those who oppose Trump’s leadership. But we must be careful not to categorise all women under this heading, because to do so would only fulfil the engendered stereotypes that we are trying to escape. We must not assume ‘solidarity’ to the extent that disagreeing members of our sex are excluded from ‘womanhood’ because of their beliefs. They marched not because all women should oppose the new President, but because all women should have a right to choose.
Image by Cody Williams via flickr.