POLITICS

What Donald Trump's Win Has Done To Australian Women And Ambition

She was the most experienced candidate in history. He had none.

10/11/2016 1:55 PM AEDT | Updated 12/11/2016 6:34 AM AEDT
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In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton said "this loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it."

Hillary Clinton did not break through what she has described as the hardest glass ceiling to smash. We're not going to have the first female President of the United States for a while longer. And for many women around the world, this is enough to grieve.

But Hillary Clinton, the most experienced candidate to ever run for office, lost to a man with no political experience, at all. It's left many women, including many Australian women, with a bruised ambition.

Helen Pringle, a Senior Lecturer at UNSW and researcher of women's rights, said the criticisms Clinton received on the campaign trail and throughout her political career reveal a more distressing reality.

"If you can't say she's unqualified, you mock her instead," Pringle told The Huffington Post Australia.

I've had successes and setbacks and sometimes painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional, public, and political careers -- you will have successes and setbacks too.Hillary Clinton

Clinton was criticised by Trump for not looking presidential enough, her appearance has been shamed, she's been called derogatory names, asked to smile more, and even told to go iron someone's shirt at a campaign rally.

"It's not really because they think women belong in the home, it's a way of saying you're subordinate. I think nowadays it's still available a form of abuse and derision. Not taking those things seriously is a really important thing to think about," Pringle told HuffPost Australia.

Hillary Clinton has had issues connecting with voters, lacking in charm and battling public trust issues with an email scandal hanging over her campaign. But she was running against a businessman who had sexual assault allegations against him and bragged about grabbing women by the p***y.

Hillary's loss was a loss for women everywhere, but Trump's win was a greater loss.

"It's not only his lack of political experience, it's that he was so overtly and unapologetically sexist; that massive sense of entitlement that he has, entitlement in every sphere, but sexual entitlement as well," Pringle said.

"One of the things I think it unequivocally shows is we don't think that sexual assault is a terribly serious matter.

"These things still don't count enough in terms of what we understand to be serious matters. I think in some ways that's a bigger problem."

I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day, someone will -- and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.Hillary Clinton

As Trump was reigning in his victory, a bunch of students at The University of Sydney were chanting 'grab her by the p***y'. They were booted from the campus, but then the man they were imitating was announced leader of the free world.

American TV reporter Van Jones delivered a powerful message on election night when he asked what parents -- who raise their children to not be a bully, or a bigot -- tell their children in the morning. And the same goes for parents of young Aussie girls. What should they be told?

"In that way, maybe one of the positive things that comes out of it is teaching girls resilience and independence and being able to take a stand," Pringle said.

Child psychologist Bill Campos told The Huffington Post Australia young girls could be feeling "disempowered" and highlighted the importance for parents to "allow them to reflect and ask questions".

"It may create a feeling, not only of loss, but of mistrust of the fabric of our society, in terms of politics, in terms of legal avenues, so there are always some questions... they may reflect on what is happening in their immediate life, about their relationships, and their awareness in terms of how they interact with other people," Campos said.

You can't say this is not about being a woman. It's quite clear to us now that they must become questions that we reflect on. We can't pretend that they don't exist anymore.Helen Pringle

"There is also opportune time here to raise and surface these discussions and maybe invite your kids, and neighbours and friends to have a healthy discussion about what it means, how it effects individuals, how it effects society.

"Now is a more important time than ever to stand up to sexism."

Pringle said the election clearly proves sex and gender still matters and "you can't hide them away anymore".

"You can't say this is not about being a woman. It's quite clear to us now that they must become questions that we reflect on. We can't pretend that they don't exist anymore."

As the world reflects on the reality of a President-elect Trump and the issues the 2016 U.S. election uncovered, Pringle argues Australian women's ambition shouldn't be bruised for too long. And it appears the woman who didn't quite break the hardest glass ceiling agrees.

In her concession speech, Clinton said "this loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it."

"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 achieve your own dreams."

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