Hillary Clinton says abuse of female politicians on social media is 'viral'
By Sonia Elks LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Female politicians are facing a backlash over women's rights which has been fuelled by social media that rewards abusive posts and conspiracy theories, former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Sunday. Women in the public eye still face scrutiny over their looks and pressure to behave politely and meekly in a way that men do not, said Clinton as she discussed a book co-authored with her daughter Chelsea Clinton about inspirational women leaders.
By Sonia Elks
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Female politicians are facing a backlash over women's rights which has been fuelled by social media that rewards abusive posts and conspiracy theories, former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Sunday.
Women in the public eye still face scrutiny over their looks and pressure to behave politely and meekly in a way that men do not, said Clinton as she discussed a book co-authored with her daughter Chelsea Clinton about inspirational women leaders.
Her comments came after a number of female members of parliament in Britain announced they would not stand for re-election at a Dec. 12 general election, citing abuse on social media including rape and death threats.
"I do think there is a reaction to a lot of the success of women and the roles of women right now," Clinton told an audience at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall in central London.
"And I think social media has lit that up, in a very destructive and toxic way. People may have thought a lot of things in the past but now it is amplified and it is viral."
Clinton, who lost out on her bid to become the first female president of the United States at the 2016 election, has said misogyny "certainly" played a role in her defeat to Republican rival Donald Trump.
An international study last year by Atalanta, a social enterprise dedicated to advancing women's leadership, found female lawmakers were three times more likely than men to receive sexist comments than their male colleagues.
Clinton said the scepticism towards Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg from some critics revealed how much gendered norms still prevailed in many areas of public life.
"She is a young women, so the idea that she is standing up and speaking out as effectively as she has just rattles all of the paradigms that people still live with," she said.
"There's almost an ancient DNA imprinting about 'This is what women are supposed to do and this is what they are supposed to look like' and you are not supposed to be so pushy and aggressive ... it is maddening how much that still operates."
The Clintons said they hoped their "The Book of Gutsy Women: Favourite Stories of Courage and Resilience" would inspire women to stand up for their beliefs - and help men and boys find female heroes.
It comes amid a growing debate over remaining glass ceilings for women, with U.S.-based Women's March demanding rights, while the #MeToo movement on social media against sexual abuse has sparked wider debates on pay, representation and sexism.
Clinton said she was optimistic for future political candidates and others reaching into male-dominated spheres, but change was needed to ensure they had an equal chance of success.
"It is the structures of power that should change. Why are they so set on making it so difficult for not only women but people of colour and others to get into the room?" she said.
"We are really aware of that. I lived that."
(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.