The woman card, also called playing the woman card, the gender card or the sex card, is an idiomatic phrase that refers to exploitation of either sexist or anti-female attitudes by accusing others of sexism or misogyny.
The phrase is used to describe accusations of women either mentioning their gender to gain an advantage in discussions or implying or accusing other people of sexism in order to garner support. It has been viewed as a last resort tactic for people in discussions with Miranda Devine stating: "Playing the gender card is the pathetic last refuge of incompetents and everyone in the real world knows it." However, it has also been argued that making the accusation of someone playing the woman card is a way to belittle genuine concerns and the credibility of the person who it is aimed at.
Accusations of the woman card often occur in politics and elections. In 2012, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard made a speech in the Australian Parliament accusing Opposition leader Tony Abbott of misogyny. Gillard's speech received international attention and was widely praised, including, reportedly, by a number of foreign political leaders including François Hollande, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. Some local commentators (predominantly conservative), however, accused Gillard of playing the gender card.
In the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries former President of the United States Bill Clinton was viewed to have played the gender card in order to garner support for his wife Hillary and likewise accused Barack Obama of using the race card against them. During the 2016 United States Presidential Election campaign, Republican Party nominee Donald Trump accused his rival, the Democratic Party's Hillary Clinton of playing the Woman Card stating she was "constantly playing the woman card. It's the only way she may get elected." Clinton responded stating "if fighting for women's healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in." Afterwards, Clinton's campaign started to issue plastic cards which said "Woman Card" based on the Metrocard from New York City, to donors who gave at least $5 to her campaign. The plan was viewed as a marketing success and a backfire from Trump as it earned Clinton $2.4 million.
During the 2017 French Presidential Election, Front National candidate Marine Le Pen was viewed as using her gender to soften views of the Front National as well as through modernisation of the party's image. Le Pen's candidacy was also cited as an example where feminists who claim they vote for candidates because they are female, refused to do so.
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