By Persis Abraham
The election of Donald Trump still has many people, including a lot of women and feminists, in shock.
“Despite more than 60 years of progress to create opportunities for women, a troubling majority still believe that the least qualified man is better suited to be a leader than the most qualified candidate for president simply because she is a woman,” said Toronto filmmaker Alissa Chater.
Trump, the Republican candidate, won the election on Tuesday night by sweeping states across the country. While he did win the U.S. Electoral College, he actually lost the popular vote. Trump got 47.5 per cent of the popular vote while Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, got 47.7 per cent.
“The election of Trump was “the most symbolically devastating event for Third Wave Feminism,” Chater said with hard lessons for “generations of women.”
According to exit polls by CNN, 53 per cent of white American women voted for Trump while only 43 per cent voted for Clinton.
“It seems difficult to comprehend that he garnered a majority of votes with white women even though he has been accused of sexual assault numerous times, unambiguously prided himself on his sexist attitude, publicly called women pigs and turned the sexual objectification of women into a business model,” Chater said.
On election night, Toronto lawyer Joanna Simkitz questioned Trump’s fitness for office.
“The most frightening thing is whether he’ll be able to attract informed, experienced advisers to provide him with basic information he’s going to need to be able to govern the country,” Simkitz said.
“The voice of a lot of middle-aged, white males with no college education who are underemployed and fearful of immigration and losing their jobs” is being exploited by xenophobic politicians, as we saw in the U.K. with their vote to leave the European Union.
But not all women were upset by Trump’s big win.
“I voted for Trump because America has struggled with simple economics and needs a change,” Lizzie Whitmire, 35, a mother of two from Dallas, told the Guardian newspaper on Thursday.
“I also want someone who is angry about terrorism and radical Islam,” she said.
Clinton delivered her concession speech on Wednesday in New York and simply told supporters, “I’m sorry.”
But she also urged women to not give up on their goals of being elected to every office in her country.
“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now,” she said.
“And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams.”
Chater was moved by Clinton’s speech and believes that despite the results of the election, women can still be leaders.
“In her speech, she made a very genuine appeal to young women to pick up her challenge and create better opportunities for themselves. The election shouldn’t be taken as a blow to women’s spirit, but a reminder of the need to openly preach equality and defend the rights of women.”
Some Americans are discouraged based on the results and do not want children to witness their president as a man who disrespects women.
Joshua Matthew from Philadelphia says he voted for Clinton and is sad that his little sister will grow up with a president like Trump.
“The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States is something I find to be extremely troubling,” Matthew told Humber News.
“I have a little sister who is old enough to understand what is going on in the world around her and I am so sad that she was denied the ability to witness the first female president taking the oath of office this January,” he said.
“I am so utterly ashamed that my fellow countrymen have elected a candidate that has bragged about his ability to sexually assault women and get away with it. This is also a man that has rape allegations against him for crying out loud!” Matthew said.
Trump’s inauguration is scheduled for Friday Jan. 20.