NAIROBI — You’ll forgive the global women’s rights movement while it catches its breath.
“I’m shellshocked. I have no words. I don’t even know what to say,” said Lina Abirafeh, director of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, at Lebanese American University in Beirut. “I don’t see [Donald] Trump championing any women’s rights issues. I think he’s a massive setback and the world’s women are conscious of that.”
She was far from alone. When advocates and activists worldwide woke up to the news that Donald Trump had become the next president of the United States, they were sad. Stunned. Disappointed.
What was at stake for the global women’s movement wasn’t simple symbolism. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy — her very name — has long been synonymous with a push for stronger women’s rights. That push was a feature of her foreign policy while Secretary of State, a foundation of her tenure as First Lady, and — to hear her friends and political allies tell it — the motivational force of her decades in public service.