Clover Convo: Women in the First 100 Days of Trump
International Women’s Day isn’t exactly a holiday you celebrate, like Valentine’s Day. Sure, IWD does highlight the political, social, and economic accomplishments made by women throughout history. But it also reminds us of how far we have to go to achieve gender equality worldwide. There’s a lot of work ahead of us—which means slightly less time for heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.
Although the ~official~ event is today, March 8th, we decided to kick off International Women’s Day early with an awesome, inspiring event with CBS News Digital in New York City. Elaine Quijano, a reporter you probably recognize from the VP Presidential debates, moderated our discussion about women in the first 100 days of Trump—and obviously, there was lots to talk about.
Featuring Amani Alkhat from Muslim Girl, conservative pundit Scottie Nell Hughes, journalist Jennifer Wallace, Republican member of the DC Education Board Ashley Carter, and Clover readers Zora Ilunga-Reed, and Nina Donovan (also the girl behind the now-famous “Nasty Woman” poem), the talk bounced from the Women’s March to Planned Parenthood to feminism.
One thing that most panelists agreed on was the polarizing political environment that’s emerged (on both sides!) post-election. “I’m not sure I knew there was so much hate until this election,” said Wallace. Our differences have never been more stark—but instead of focusing on who’s “right,” many at the discussion said we have to find a way to connect with each other. Carter noted, “Women are not a monolithic voting block. Women have different viewpoints and they believe in many different things. We need to come together and have true discussions about all of these issues. There are not just 'women’s issues'; all issues are women’s issues.”
Our success over the next four years, explained Alkhat, will be “incumbent upon women to come together to push back against the status quo that’s alienating a lot of us...We as women are facing a lot of the same frameworks of hostility and oppression right now. I think that will be our emancipation—coming together.” Bottom line? We can accomplish more when we join forces in the spirit of sisterhood, and everyone’s welcome.
While it can be tempting to slap on a “one-size-fits-all” approach to feminism, intersectionality (aka, understanding how identities like race, class, and sexual orientation can affect how people experience discrimination) has never been more crucial. At its root, feminism is about equality.
“There’s this big misconstruction that’s been happening lately, in the media and in conversations that people have been having, which is that it’s this man-hating movement, [and] a victimized way of looking at one’s self,” said Ilunga-Reed. “What we need is to go back to the real definition of feminism, which is someone who believes in equal rights.”
The biggest takeaway of the night was that talking it out—especially talking it out with people who have different opinions than you do!—is the first step to making change (on International Women’s Day, and the other 364 days of the year).