In the first of the ‘What’s the deal with…’ series, Andreea Ghita explores the meanings and implications of the Women’s March that took place in January.
You might have heard about the Women’s March that took place on the 21st January in cities around the world.
People (yes, there weren’t only women) from various backgrounds and with various beliefs all came together to protest against an outspokenly misogynistic President of the United States of America. But the protest was much more than that. So, what’s the deal with the Women’s March?
“The March was about equality, inclusion and human rights.”
It all started from a Facebook post, and grew into what is now believed to be the largest protest ever to take place in the US. Approximately three million people marched across the US, in cities including Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago. However, this was a global movement, and countries as diverse as Australia, the United Kingdom and Thailand joined in. The March was inspirational and revolutionary. But it was funny too, with provocative and humorous placards, thus challenging the widespread belief that feminism represents man-hate and anger.
The March was about equality, inclusion and human rights. It was an effort to normalise a situation that, at the moment, is once more under threat. It is normal for women to have a say on their own bodies, to be paid equally as men for performing the same tasks, to feel safe walking on the street at night, to not be objectified. It is normal for women’s rights to be human rights. But, as the pictures above suggests, women have to keep fighting to make sure that these rights are protected.
One of the speeches that I found the most inspiring at the March was Natalie Portman’s speech, who thanked Trump for starting a revolution, “from the bottom of both hearts beating inside my miraculous female body.” She also thanked the men at the March. And this is important.
Feminism is about equality. And gender equality should not only be a women’s issue. It is impossible for real change to be accomplished when the other gender is not invited and does not feel part of the discussion. So it was refreshing to see that men felt part of the conversation on the 21st of January.
Because he is amazing and utterly funny, I’ll just leave this photo of Sir Ian McKellen with a fantastic placard, for any Lord of the Rings fan.
“It was more than a protest against Trump- it was a way of showing the people in charge that no one will stand idly by as women’s rights are questioned.”
For anyone not tuned in to the recent political developments, the March took place the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as President; a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women. A man who was recently in a room filled with other men and reinstated the global gag rule. By doing so, Trump removed US funding to any organisation outside the US that offers abortions, regardless of whether these are performed from their own funds or not.
In this context, the March is perhaps more important than it would have been one year ago. It was more than a protest against Trump – it was a way of showing the people in charge that no one will stand idly by as women’s rights are questioned. It was a reminder that we, as women, as human beings, matter. And it was a poignant message for young girls all over the world, who need to see that they are valued, they have a voice, and will, one day, shatter that ‘glass ceiling’.
So, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
This is the first article in a weekly column on current issues and topics of general knowledge and interest, run by Marthe Rossaak. If you are interested in contributing, please email your draft to firstname.lastname@example.org