By Claire Zillman
January 23, 2017

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to meet with Donald Trump this week as the United States’ new president settles into the Oval Office. What’s on their agenda? Trade, terrorism, and the conflict in Syria. What’s not explicitly on the agenda? Trump’s sexist rhetoric.

In an interview with the BBC yesterday, May was asked whether she would “raise the issue of [Trump’s] treatment of women.” The question came after hundreds of thousands of people worldwide—you can see the photos here—marched in support of women’s rights on Saturday in protests sparked by Trump’s election. In London alone, an estimated 80,000 demonstrators took to the streets. May gave a murky response:

“I have already said that some of the comments that Donald Trump has made in relation to women are unacceptable. Some of those he himself has apologized for. When I sit down, I think the biggest statement that will be made about the role of women is the fact that I will be there as a female prime minister, prime minister of the U.K., directly talking to him about the interests that we share… Whenever there is something I find unacceptable, I won’t be afraid to say that to Donald Trump.”

It is certainly not up to female leaders alone to confront Trump’s treatment of women, but in sidestepping the issue, May underscores the quandary Saturday’s marchers now face: how to turn exuberant protests into political progress.



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