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Womans rights & equality going backwards in 2016.

(31 Posts)
Squeakybum Thu 19-May-16 20:37:02

Never posted in the Feminism board before, but feel compelled after hearing two news headlines in succession on the radio today I feel really disheartened about equality.

The first was regarding the plan to ban abortion in Oklahoma. They are proposing to sentence doctors up to 3 years in prision if they perform an abortion.

The second is regarding Muirfield Golf Club voting to continue to exclude women, thus rendering them unable to host the Open. Concerns from the Muirfield members include 'making women feel uncomfortable' WTF.

Feel so frustrated and I think just had to get it out there and have a rant- we have got so far still to go, but really should we be going backwards?

OnYerBikePan Thu 19-May-16 20:50:21

fwiw I think the Muirfield thing is going to be v short lived. And even if it isn't it will be seen as a joke of an institution fairly soon. Golf clubs are not the yardstick of social engagement.
Oklahoma? It's a bit similar - an anachronism and in no way to be seen as a developmental issue - apart of course for the people directly affected.

So no, we are not going backward. Just some places need a bit more time to catch up with everyone else. But that's always been the way with social change.


tribpot Thu 19-May-16 20:57:41

I don't think the power of the anti-abortion lobby in the States can be viewed solely as an anachronism. I very much doubt this is the direction of travel for Western Europe, i.e. further and further restrictions on our right to access abortion services, but I'm not so sure about Eastern Europe.

I do feel we are struggling with the good old 'the best trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist' problem. I think most people here (in the UK, not on this board!) do not believe sexism is a real issue. You bloody women have had the right to vote for a hundred years, better employment rights protection than most of the world - if things aren't equal by now it's basically your own fault. That kind of thing.

I'm pleased, and somewhat surprised, to see the club being excluded from the Open. That actually is a welcome development.

Canyouforgiveher Thu 19-May-16 21:01:32

The first was regarding the plan to ban abortion in Oklahoma. They are proposing to sentence doctors up to 3 years in prision if they perform an abortion.

There is constitutional right to an abortion in the USA. What oklahoma is doing is chipping away at dates/times/requirements for clinics etc. It can make it exceedingly difficult for a woman to get an abortion (if it goes through) but it cannot ban it completely.

Ireland and Northern Ireland have a complete ban which should be of more concern to people imo.

BartholinsSister Thu 19-May-16 21:07:31

It might be interesting if women wishing to join the golf club play the trans card, and declare themselves male.

OnYerBikePan Thu 19-May-16 21:17:06

I suspect any golf club will be a bit more savvy than that.

Though I am a bit unsure what you mean about "playing the trans card". Is that like "playing the race card"? Or like "playing the mental health card"? Or some such? A bit unpleasant any way.

AHellOfABird Fri 20-May-16 07:01:47

Glad the club is banned

Grimarse Fri 20-May-16 07:18:16

Re the Muirfield thing - have you heard and read the reaction in the news, in print, on social media, on the BBC etc etc? How on earth can you not be encouraged by that? The club and the local economy stand to lose around 20 million pounds in revenue due to golf's governing body withdrawing the Open tournament, because everybody knows that the club's stance is wrong.

If you are a glass half-empty person, maybe this stuff can get you down. But if you look at it with any kind of objectivity, the overall picture should be encouraging. A few privileged white males trying to preserve their own safe space ( /sarcasm) do not represent UK society. Fuck them.

AHellOfABird Fri 20-May-16 07:25:06


It's good that there is outrage.

Not as good as the club taking action to change, though.

AHellOfABird Fri 20-May-16 07:26:54

You mentioned a few privileged white males - no doubt that is the governing body but does the club actually ban non white men, do you know?

Grimarse Fri 20-May-16 08:05:05

First thing I wondered too, Hell. It seems they do;

Obviously, a tongue-in-cheek article designed to highlight a point. But it seems that private clubs can be set up for people who share certain characteristics, if they are designated 'protected' characteristics. But we need someone cleverer than me to explain how you frig the law. Women can and do play at Muirfield. It just seems that you cannot be a member.

I wonder if such discrimination is the same thing that allows safe spaces for women, such as women-only hostels, shelters, events like feminist festivals etc etc. Might we undo their good work? I don't know, just thinking out loud. There are legal professionals on here that could no doubt give a better explanation.

AHellOfABird Fri 20-May-16 08:20:51

There are set criteria for exclusions, I guess, I don't see why this should be one.

Regarding my first point, its still sexist and very disappointing the club has done this, and that is separate to the public reaction.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 20-May-16 08:22:54

"Of the 648 members who were eligible to vote, 616 took part with 397 voting in favour and 219 against. A total of 411 yes votes was required"

More than half the members voted to change the rule but it needs 2/3rds. I couldn't care less about golf but almost twice as many members voted to allow women in as voted against.

AHellOfABird Fri 20-May-16 08:26:58

That's also positive, lass, thanks.

Quimby Fri 20-May-16 09:07:59

The laws that allow for protected characteristics etc for certain services such as women only shelters/gyms being provided by private or government bodies are different to what allows muirfield to operate as it does.

The issue here is private members clubs being able to dictate membership criteria and that is what is protected by the law.

For the most part this is not a contentious issue as most private clubs don't reach the level of success or scope that this golf club has.
If someone and their 4 mates want to set up a knitting/book/poker club and decide its women/whites/blacks/men only then that's perfectly fine legally no matter how backwards others might think.

This is essentially the same principal just the private club has been far more successful.
They own the land they play on and they're a private club.
So if the 5 person group mentioned earlier grew in scope, bought a clubhouse to host their poker nights, brought in friends etc they're still governed by the same principles as when they started out as 5 people in each other's house.

It's their freedom of association which is being protected by the law here, in that they as private individuals are free to associate or disassociate however they choose.

As opposed to businesses etc which are not free to discriminate along those same criteria

Quimby Fri 20-May-16 09:09:22

So the idea that by attacking this you might inadvertently undo the good work or special services for vulnerable women/children would be unlikely to be an issue

Grimarse Fri 20-May-16 09:45:16

Thanks Quimby.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 20-May-16 09:47:53

It's unlikely Quimby but the law which protects the rights of private , single sex members clubs to exist applies to Muirfield.

The OP might hate the idea that a very successful and wealthy single sex male club exists but it is entitled to. If you think it should not then you have to accept no single sex members clubs or associations should exist.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 20-May-16 09:49:37

Summary of the law in lay terms

Single Sex Clubs: An Unfair Advantage or a Hole in One?,4218,3854

Grimarse Fri 20-May-16 10:03:01

So, Muirfield and others can do as they like, but if they are out of step with society, they will suffer consequences. Those may be financial, damage to reputation or both. Personally, I think it is self-destructive behaviour. It also serves to keep the subject of sexism to the fore, which is a benefit that they probably did not consider.

Quimby Fri 20-May-16 10:03:38

Oh no I accept that lass.

My point was simply that the laws which relate to business catering for certain minority groups or government services provisions for same (be it women's shelters, single sex gym/swimming times, minority groups in certain industries) which relate to protected characteristics do not fall under the same legal area as muirfield (which as you say is private members associations)

I accept fully that if you want to try and ban or outlaw muirfields decision then you'd have to do the same for a private women only judo club or even a small local women only book club which may cater for only 3/4 people.
I know practically that small a group is never going to trouble anyone within the legal system, but if muirfield is to fall then clubs of that nature would also technically be on the wrong side of the law.

Fwiw I do agree that muirfield should have the right to remain men only. I'm delighted that in this case society has reacted the way it has.
They can set their private criteria. We can voice out criticism and business can boycott their club should they wish.
A good old fashioned social shunning for views we find repugnant but that they have the legal right to hold.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 20-May-16 10:11:45

I agree that women's rights are being rolled back in 2016. I'm not sure I'd point at golf clubs as the vanguard of this trend, or even Oklahoman attitudes to abortion.

In the UK the push to erode women's rights is coming from two noisy and aggressive cuckoos in the equalities nest, namely political Islam and transgender MTT activism. Both these groups use socially accepted 'equality' rights claims to appropriate the social justice discourse for their own, thinly-disguised patriarchal ends.

I'd add to that the ever more prescriptive policing of gendered socialisation for children and the impact of pornography on normative beauty standards and the interactions between men and women and yes, I'd say women's rights have a battle to fight on several fronts.

LurcioAgain Fri 20-May-16 10:18:57

Canyouforgiveher "There is constitutional right to an abortion in the USA. What oklahoma is doing is chipping away at dates/times/requirements for clinics etc. It can make it exceedingly difficult for a woman to get an abortion (if it goes through) but it cannot ban it completely."

No - Oklahoma has already gone down the route you mention (insisting on admitting privileges etc.) This would make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions - thus outlawing abortion, albeit by the route of criminalising the providers rather than the women seeking abortion.

The aim in putting the legislation forward is to force a legal challenge which (they hope) will eventually go all the way up to the supreme court and overturn Roe vs Wade.

It's a distinct possibility that, given that they are playing the long game, they will succeed. The court was split 5-4 conservative to liberal. Scalia (conservative) died recently - Republicans in Congress and the Senate are trying to block Obama from appointing a replacement on the grounds that this close to an election it is customary to leave the appointment to the incoming president. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leading liberal among the current supreme court judges, is 83 years old, so it's a possibility that if the next president is Trump, during his term in office he will be appointing not just one but two supreme court judges, entrenching the court as solidly conservative - if a Republican president gets to choose not one but two of the judges, the court will be split 6-3.

New York Times article on Trump's proposed list. The article includes a quote from Nan Aaron (president of what I think is a liberal think tank on legal matters):
“The list includes some of the most extreme conservatives on the federal bench today,” she said. “Their opinions demonstrate open hostility to Americans’ rights and liberties, including reproductive justice and environmental, consumer and worker protections. They have ruled consistently in favor of the powerful over everyone else. They would move the needle even further to the right on the Supreme Court.”

I think there's a serious possibilty we could see Roe vs Wade overturned in the next ten years.

(Totally agree that the situation in NI and Ireland is shocking).

RiverTam Fri 20-May-16 10:41:32

We are absolutely going backwards. The entire gender identity debate is based on outdated, negative and damaging gender stereotypes that I had thought we had moved on from. Instead, lots of so-called liberal forward thinking people are pushing us backwards, back into our box marked FEMALE and we'd better damn well stay in it. And Amercia (and Canada) are right at the forefront of this, shame on Obama for what he said. But we are not far behind.

The feminists of the 70s and 80s must wonder why on earth they bothered. So many women seem to be happily giving up their right to be treated and valued as equal members of society. So many liberal lefty men are merrily telling women how they should think and behave.

It's depressing, and makes me very angry, and fearful for the world DD is growing up in. I sincerely hope that a lot of this will have blown up in people's faces before she hits puberty.

venusinscorpio Fri 20-May-16 10:53:25

The box won't be marked "female". The box won't even be allowed to have its own name. But yes, the box will still be there.

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