Men just keep on Trump­ing women’s rights

CityPress - - Voices & Careers - Gayle Ed­munds voices@city­press.co.za

This week, Lon­don hosted the global fam­ily plan­ning sum­mit, where pol­i­cy­mak­ers, donors and ac­tivists came to­gether to dis­cuss how to en­sure ev­ery woman has the right to choose if and when she wants to have a baby.

Mean­while, in an­other part of Europe, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was leer­ing at Brigitte Macron, French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron’s wife, “you know, you’re in such great shape”. He then turned to Pres­i­dent Macron and said: “She’s in such good phys­i­cal shape.”

To­gether, the two events per­fectly il­lus­trate the per­va­sive­ness of the com­mod­i­fi­ca­tion of women. Trump thinks what he said was a com­pli­ment be­cause he be­lieves that the only way a woman is val­i­dated is if a man com­ments on her at­trac­tive­ness.

That he re­peated the com­pli­ment to her hus­band il­lus­trates that the world is still full of men who be­lieve women are theirs – or are the prop­erty of an­other man. Trump is sim­ply the male man­i­fes­ta­tion of why gen­der equal­ity – from the pay gap to the teenager in El Sal­vador who was jailed last week for 30 years for mur­der af­ter hav­ing a mis­car­riage – is still a pipe dream.

The good news from the fam­ily plan­ning sum­mit is that, last year, more than 82 mil­lion preg­nan­cies, 25 mil­lion un­safe abor­tions and 125 000 ma­ter­nal deaths were averted be­cause 300 mil­lion women have ac­cess to con­tra­cep­tion. The rea­son we all need to do more (yes, fa­thers, sons, broth­ers and hus­bands) is that there are still 214 mil­lion women in devel­op­ing coun­tries who want to – but don’t have ac­cess to or aren’t al­lowed to – use con­tra­cep­tion to time, space and pre­vent preg­nancy.

Women have al­ways had far too many men polic­ing what they do with their bod­ies. This con­trol of women’s bod­ies is cou­pled with the ab­di­ca­tion of re­spon­si­bil­ity men have to­wards car­ing for all the needs of the chil­dren they bring into the world.

Trump is an easy tar­get – he’s a shame­less bigot – but all of us should be do­ing more to smash any and all signs of judge­ments made about women and their choices.

Re­pro­duc­tive rights and sex­ual rights are for­ever linked – women can’t have one if they don’t have the other.

They can’t have ei­ther if men con­tinue to think it is any of their busi­ness.

Women have al­ways had far too many men polic­ing what they do with their bod­ies

PHOTO: REUTERS / MICHEL EULER / POOL

GRAB ’EM US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ‘com­pli­mented’ French First Lady Brigitte Macron (left) on her phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.