Woman card

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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[1] or implying or accusing other people of sexism in order to garner support.[2] 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."[3] 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.[4]


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.[4] Gillard's speech received international attention and was widely praised,[5][6][7] including, reportedly, by a number of foreign political leaders including François Hollande,[8] Barack Obama,[9][10] and Hillary Clinton.[11] Some local commentators (predominantly conservative), however, accused Gillard of playing the gender card.[12][13][3]

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[14] and likewise accused Barack Obama of using the race card against them.[15] 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."[16] 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."[17] 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.[18] The plan was viewed as a marketing success and a backfire from Trump as it earned Clinton $2.4 million.[19]

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.[20][21] 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.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Playing the sex card to get ahead". The Globe and Mail. Canada. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  2. ^ "Clinton on gender: 'I'm not exploiting anything'". CNN. November 15, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Devine, Miranda. "Gender card is a loser for Gillard". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Worth, Anna; Augoustinos, Martha; Hastie, Brianne (February 2016). ""Playing the gender card": Media representations of Julia Gillard's sexism and misogyny speech". Feminism & Psychology. 26 (1): 52–72. doi:10.1177/0959353515605544.
  5. ^ Women's Politics. "Julia Gillard's blistering attack on sexism was her best card". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  6. ^ Angynl, Chloe (October 9, 2010). "It's good to see Julia Gillard tackle sexism head-on". Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  7. ^ Lester, Amelia (October 9, 2012). "Ladylike: Julia Gillard's Misogyny Speech". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  8. ^ World leaders praise Gillard sexism speech at ASEM, AustralianTimes.co.uk, November 8, 2012, archived from the original on October 21, 2013, retrieved October 21, 2013
  9. ^ Coorey, Phillip (November 10, 2012). "Now it's Obama's turn to praise Gillard speech". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  10. ^ Grattan, Michelle (November 10, 2012). "Obama aware of misogyny speech". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media.
  11. ^ Ferguson, Sarah (June 16, 2014). "Hillary Clinton says 'no place for sexism in politics'". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  12. ^ Federal Politics (October 10, 2012). "Gillard reveals true nature in playing gender card". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  13. ^ "Gender card backfires for Julia Gillard". The Australian. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  14. ^ Dowd, Maureen (January 9, 2008). "Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "Bill Clinton: Obama camp 'played the race card on me'". CNN. April 22, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  16. ^ "Trump: Hillary Clinton 'constantly playing the woman card'". The Guardian. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  17. ^ Careers (April 12, 2016). "Hillary Clinton on 'playing the gender card'". Business Insider. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  18. ^ "Hillary Clinton's Campaign Is Now Issuing Actual 'Woman Cards'". Fortune.com. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  19. ^ "Hillary Clinton and the 'woman card'". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  20. ^ "Why Marine Le Pen Finally Decided To Run As A Woman". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  21. ^ "The woman card". The News. May 4, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  22. ^ Read. "By their own logic, feminists should support Marine Le Pen". The Spectator. Retrieved May 18, 2017.