Clinton And The Conspiracy Against Women, By Zainab Suleiman Okino
There is a new wave of resurgence of anti-women leadership in the world, so it appears. From Brazil to the US and now South Korea, there is a subtle conspiracy to truncate the steady progress women have been making, to break the glass ceiling, especially since the Beijing declaration.
The unfortunate decline in ‘women power’ culminated in the shocked defeat of Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that permutations and polls predicted her victory. The Trump and Clinton rivalry had a lot to do with race supremacy and reversal of the gains of the global world order. However, for gender activists, advocates and women in Third World countries who looked unto to her victory as an opportunity for others to latch on, it was a heart break.
The US takes pride in its flagship democratic ethos and standards. Because of their so-called liberal environment, it was thought that this time around, the US would make history and vote for a woman. Unfortunately, we did not take into cognisance the fluidity of its political environment. That political flexibility is what shattered Mrs. Clinton’s comfortable lead before the FBI report and their entrenched system of ‘dictatorship of the minority’ which makes the votes the electoral college (of a few hundred people) superior to majority votes. The rest is now history.
The South Korea President, Park Geun-hye is currently facing a major battle of her life. She is to undergo an unprecedented inquisition never seen in the country before, having been accused of allowing her friend, Choi Soon-sil ‘to manipulate power from behind the scenes’, whatever that means in South Korean parlance. Although the president’s friend, accused of trying to extort money from companies, has been arrested on charges of fraud and abuse of power, demonstrators and protesters want President Park out of power.
Koreans must have seen the under-belly and weaknesses of a woman in power after a profuse ‘apology’ and expression of how ‘heartbroken’ she is for ‘putting too much faith in a personal relationship’. She added: “Sad thoughts trouble my sleep at night. I realise that whatever I do, it will be difficult to mend the hearts of the people, and then I feel a sense of shame’. Obviously her feminist instincts and weaknesses, which laced those apologies, have emboldened his traducers and the forces against her, even though her competence has never been called to question and no corruption case has been traced to her yet.
Only in August, former president of Brazil and the first woman to hold that position was impeached by the Senate of the country over flimsy corruption allegations. The poor woman cried foul, but the male dominated Senate went ahead to cut short her tenure, as affirmed by the country’s highest court recently, just as they are trying to do to President Park in South Korea.
I’m not making excuses for these women’s failure or infractions; but it is a truism that in many communities, men are still uncomfortable with women as leaders. In the US, of all places, this line of thinking still exists. One of Trump’s female supporters interviewed before the election did not mince words when she concluded that the presidency is not a job for women because they are lily-livered and do not have the kind of hormones that can withstand the stress of the office of president.
In a male dominated world where chauvinism, machoism, male ego and sexism are pervasive, women’s so called offences are always magnified, even as they pale into insignificance compared to their male counterparts. The society expects so much from women; they are expected to be saintly, should act and behave to prove their infallibility, yet they are human beings with foibles just like men.
The first Gulf War was taken to Iraq by George Bush (Sr.), after Saddam Hussein was prodded to attack Kuwait. The second Gulf War was contrived by George W. Bush (Jr.) over allegations that Saddam Hussain had a stockpile of chemical weapons that turned out to be a mirage. The so-called Clinton lies, her offence over the fall of Libya and the killing of Americans at their embassy, were all fallouts of the war on the Gulf states started by the age-long American expansionism policy and amplified by the two Bush administrations. Clinton was only a victim of the mess created by male American leaders.
By way of summary, it is disheartening that even the West is not even-handed when it comes to women, and is backsliding as far as the political progress of women is concerned. if the West cannot inspire other countries and lead the way; if women are not given the chance no matter how qualified they are; and if all these liberal democracies are not uplifting the womenfolk, where lies the hope for women in Africa, parts of Asia, and the Arab world where women are relegated and suppressed, justifying these with religion instead of their cultural biases? Is it in Nigeria whose president declared openly that his wife belonged to the kitchen and the other room that women would find succour?