To women across the world: Donald Trump being elected is an attack on you
- Credit: AP
American columnist Amanda Ulrich gives her impressions of the US presidential election
When I was a teenager, my mom quit her job and went back to school.
She had worked for years as the director of a free health clinic in Northern Virginia, and despite being incredibly well-respected in the community for turning a failing organisation into a successful one, she decided to start her professional career over from scratch and become a nurse.
I tell you this to illustrate the kind of women who have surrounded me through my life and the unimaginable pride I have felt in their accomplishments. My mom demanded respect from those around her, regardless of what her job title was, and in turn my little sister and I have tried to do the same.
If this seems like a rather personal anecdote to dredge up in the aftermath of the political chaos that ensued last night, it's because it is.
No election in my lifetime has hit this close to home - made me and the other women in my life realise that inherent sexism may never be eradicated, at least not in the near future. We've officially taken one giant step back in breaking the glass ceiling.
It was easier for white voters to support the first black president than a white woman. What does that say about our underlying, unspoken biases?
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Now, instead of electing the first female president, we've elected a president that assaults, degrades and patronises them. Who makes jokes about dating his own daughter. Who somehow turned Bill Clinton's cheating scandal around to damage Hillary's career. Who has a been accused of sexual assault. Who has said some women were not attractive enough to sexually assault.
Donald Trump becoming president says to women across America: you're not a necessary part of our democracy. Not solely because a woman won't be sitting in the White House come spring, but because an overtly misogynistic human being - man or woman - will.
Hillary conceding to Trump last night rubbed salt in the wound of unrealised gender equality. It was scarily reminiscent of every qualified female who's ever had to give up a job or promotion to a less-qualified man for reasons outside of her control.
In a commencement speech to women at Wellesley College in 1996, journalist and screenwriter Norah Ephron summed up her hunger for change better than I think I could.
'Don't underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many people wish we could turn the clock back,' she said.
'One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don't take it personally, but listen hard to what's going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally.
'Understand: Every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you.
'When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn't serious about her career, that is an attack on you.
'The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you.
'Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you — whether or not you believe in abortion.
'The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you.'
And on November 9, 2016, I'm adding to that list.
The election of Donald Trump as president is most definitely an attack on you.