Right-wing governments all across the globe hold the political reigns of many major nations either as the party in power or as a dominant opposition, thus playing a key role in shaping their country’s as well as the entire world’s politics.
Therefore it is truly alarming, yet not so shocking, to find evidence of anti-feminist activities hidden strategically behind the facade of pro-women slogans and policies brought forward solely for good publicity, a new trend followed by these parties in recent times.
Right-wing parties have held the baton for misogynistic activities for a very long time, taking an example of Hitler and his Nazi party, one of the most extreme right-wing parties to ever exist in history.
Hitler believed that women should be confined to their houses, bound by duties of a wife and a mother. Women in Nazi Germany weren’t allowed to participate in any political activities and were restricted from excelling in the field of academics.
Their condition was a stark contrast against the backdrop of World War II, which proved to be a blessing in disguise for women as they now began to thrive in fields initially restricted to men.
Another instance is of Nigel Farage, the far-right British gadfly and important opposing force in British politics. He said that he wasn’t a Feminist and isn’t even aware of what the term means — the term, which is shaking the core of the world currently, was unknown to a major political persona in Britain. This ought to influence British politics in one way or the other.
Highlighting the most popular example that is of Donald Trump, who belongs to the Republican party (which is considered a right-wing party,) and is the 45th president of United States of America. A major influencer of global politics, Trump is the poster child of loud, misogynistic ideas, which are evident in his numerous scandals and his behaviour around women. He reinforces the widely misunderstood belief that to be for women is to be against men.
Trump’s fear of misandry will continue to bind him to his foundation- something he cherishes while forming policies on socio-cultural issues.
Bharatiya Janata Party, or simply BJP, is a right-wing Indian political party which is currently in power in India. Although Narendra Modi of BJP, the current prime minister of India, has allocated many ministries to women, he has, in the past, simply used women as vote banks and has done nothing to ease their grievances.
BJP, the so-called pro-women party, has opposed the bill for the criminalization of marital rape. The party has also protected, on numerous occasions, certain members who indulged in stalking and abusing women. There have been no steps taken to modify the horrendous abortion law in India. As an Indian female, I can taste misogyny seeping in our day-to-day lives when our abuser walks free because of improper response to molestation and rape victims, or that the pay we hold is less than that of a male worker because there is no regulation of equal pay for equal work.
The Liberal Democrats of Australia, another right-wing party, has been accused of having very few women members. In 2016, out of 47 candidates of the party, only 3 were women that were added overnight because the party was accused having not a single female candidate by the media.
Eva Cox, a writer who was once part of the Sydney libertarian push said, “The Liberal Democrats probably didn’t realize they had a gender imbalance until asked by the media.”
With a male domination in the power, how will policies addressing women’s problems be formed? At the end of the day, women address and understand women’s grievances better because of shared common social and historical experiences.
Ideas and ideologies and, mostly static, change needs to come from within, thus the need of the hour is for more involvement of women in politics, to shake the foundation on which these right-wing governments play matches of chess against feminism.
Photo by Andrew Vickers