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2004-04-07

Frauen für Fischer (Women for Fischer) 

Nobody will care, but I don't like this. Two candidates for the upcoming election of the Austrian president: A man and a woman. There have been female candidates before, they all did better than expected, but none of them had more than c.12% of the vote. This time, since the female candidate is supported by the biggest party, she has a chance of winning. She is an energetic foreign minister - he is an experienced, intellectual career politician.

The people supporting the man were afraid that the woman would be helped by the fact that she is a woman, since some women might prefer a female candidate. To counter this, a big initiative has developed, in which women supporting the male candidate come out saying that they, as women, support the male candidate, because "being a woman is not enough".

Of course being a woman is not enough - who ever claimed it was? So effectively, they're implying that the female candidate does not have any qualifications for the job except being a woman. This is actually quite offensive and sexist - it is quite obvious even to non-supporters that the female candidate DOES have some relevant qualifications, she has worked at the UN and is after all foreign minister. So let's be generous, maybe that is not what the majority of the women in "Frauen for Fischer" want to express. Maybe what they mean is that, since being a woman is not enough, one needs to look at the qualifications of each candidate, and judge based on them and based on them alone.

That is perfectly legitimate. But if this is the supposed message, why on earth should it be relevant that there is a "Frauen for Fischer" initiative which seems to dominate his whole compaign, would it not be much more natural to have something like "Austrians for Fischer"? What is so special about the fact that the supporters of Fischer also include women (c. 50% women, one would hope). What is so energising about the fact that the opposing candidate is a woman? Is a woman that one does not support so much more of a provocation than a man one does not support?

To provide context, I'm going to vote for the man, but being a man is not enough.


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