TWU experts: Clinton “breaking the glass ceiling” is old news in the rest of the world

Note: Trinity Western University is non-partisan. The following represents academic commentary from our faculty on a current event and does not reflect a position of TWU.

Hear Allyson Jule and Robynne Healey interviewed by Charmaine de Silva on CKNW, and listen to Allyson Jule on Pulse 107 with Kash Heed

Early headlines of Clinton’s nomination were, ironically, filled with photos of her husband. Two Trinity Western University professors are available to comment on the obvious fear of women in power—and the fact that it seems to be unique to North America.

Allyson Jule, Ph.D.

 “It was most unfortunate that Hillary’s image did not appear in all the front pages that announced her victory. It may have been an oversight—later editions did feature her image—but that such an oversight could occur at all reveals the tenacious discomfort and ambivalence the world has with a woman in a position of great power,” says Allyson Jule, a TWU professor of education, a co-director of TWU’s Gender Studies Institute, and the president of the Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes (WGSRF).

 “The real power of women is too amazing for some to accept: her beauty, her abilities, her intelligence, etc. That’s why there is such debasement of women all over world: it’s a way to keep the amazement in check. If we disempower her, then she ceases to be a threat. I think Donald Trump knows this very well.”

Robynne Healey, Ph.D.

 “Without a doubt, this is an historic moment for the United States of America, but it is not a watershed moment for women globally,” says Robynne Healey, a professor of history and a co-director of Trinity Western University’s Gender Studies Institute. “This glass ceiling has been broken in multiple other countries for many years.

“Nonetheless, there is a very real fear of women in positions of power, and that fear seems to be magnified in the United States. The response in these cases is usually to go on the attack in a gendered way. For instance, stories in the past year about Hillary Clinton have commented on her age, implying she’s too old to become POTUS. Rarely do we hear similar comments about the age of male politicians.”


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