Editor's letter: When we won’t need to celebrate women’s day

30 March 2017 by Vincent Huck

The fact that 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump in the last presidential election in the USA is something I’m still trying to come to terms with. Although 54% of women voted for Hillary Clinton, when a racial filter is applied on the demographics, white women voted in majority for Trump. This fact defies all logic to me – don’t get me wrong, gender shouldn’t play any part in the way one votes, be it our own gender or the gender of the candidates –  but how does one vote for someone who constantly and proudly makes disgusting remarks about one’s own gender (or race for that matter)?

“I voted for Trump because America has struggled with simple economics and needs a change,” Lizzie Whitmire told The Guardian. “I do not agree with Trump’s language and behaviour, and that is definitely not why I voted for him. But I am not worried that Trump’s misogynistic language and sexist behaviour will have any interference with the reasons I want him in office. These are no more than actual actions of past presidents who were exactly the same way, just never recorded under a hot mic.”

Well, to start with, two wrongs don’t make a right! And second, will Trump’s misogyny have no impact in tackling ‘simple economics’ such as the fact that twice as many black women are unemployed in the USA as white women, or that, on average, a woman’s earnings are approximately equivalent to 77–78% of the average man’s?

It makes me wonder how all the leading figures of feminism throughout the ages would feel about such a statement and putting in the highest office someone who would gladly roll back all efforts made in gender equality by a few decades.
As I often do in times of depression, I turn to Captain Thomas Sankara, president of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987 and a leading advocate for women’s emancipation.

In his leading speech about the role of women in society, given in May 1987, entitled: Women’s liberation: a requirement for the future, he said:

“Irradiated with the life-giving sap of freedom, the humiliated and proscribed men of yesterday received the seal of what is dearest in the world: dignity and honour. From then on, happiness became accessible and every day we walk towards it, embalmed by the struggles, the first signs that testify to the great steps we have already made. But selfish happiness is only illusion, and we have a great absent: women. They were excluded from this happy procession […] The status of women is […] the knot of the whole human question, here, there, everywhere. It therefore has a universal character.”
 We shouldn’t have days to commemorate women, the same way we shouldn’t have dates to commemorate anything that shouldn’t be commemorated punctually: mothers, fathers or pancakes. For the simple fact that all of the above shouldn’t need any special celebration or tribute.

But digesting the Trump vote, and the recent ‘leg-it’ Daily Mail cover, throughout the month of March, and in celebration of International Women’s Day, The Accountant opened its pages to women professionals; we asked them to make a contribution on the question of gender inequality – deliberately leaving the guidelines blurry and broad to give total freedom as to what they wanted to say.

The result was a wide range of contributions, from personal stories to PR propaganda. We publish in this month’s issue a large selection encompassing the vast spectrum of contributions which we hope will help to inform the debate and generate ideas to move forward to a time when we can stop celebrating International Women’s Day – for all the right reasons.