On January 20th, 2017, women and allies organized marches in all seven continents and in 673 different cities around the world. There were 673 official Women’s Marches and 4,814,000 sister marches conducted. This historic event originally was planned to be the “Women’s March on Washington” to be held in Washington DC the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump. This event was meant to embody a united front against the misogynistic, racist, and homophobic values held by the current presidential administration. However, it became so much more than that. It became a symbol of the unwavering solidarity between minorities around the world.
Women’s Marches Around the Nation
The mission statement of the creators of the Women’s March on Washington is as follows:
“We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.”
Around the world, women and allies not only showed their support for US minorities, but also worked to further their own intersectional feminist agendas as well.
In London, women not only marched to oppose close diplomatic ties between the UK and the US during Trump’s presidency, but also to protest the Brexit vote as well. Many signs read sayings such as: “We Shall Overcomb,” and “Trump Special Relationship? Just Say No.” Many protesters worked to emphasize the importance of unity between all women as Kimberly Espinal, one of the organizers of the London march, explains “It’s an opportunity to come together, to grieve and then to turn that around to celebrate unity.”
In Paris, people from all across Europe marched in rejection of the the new US administration and to exclaim that hateful views will not be tolerated anywhere. The event’s Facebook page reads, “We are mobilizing as the new president of the United States prepares to apply the violently sexist, lesbophobic, homophobic, xenophobic and racist ideology that he defended during his campaign.” Marie Alliebert, one of the march organizers, states that this event was not intended to demonize a particular person, but to stand up against misogynistic, racist and hateful messages. She also explained that France will be having their own presidential elections this coming April, in which the two major candidates hold conservative views that threaten various women’s rights.
In India, women took to the streets to protest the victim blaming, rape culture, and misogyny imposed throughout the country. Swarnima, writer for Feminism India, states that the protest is a stand against all of the atrocities against women that have been committed in India recently such as the acid attack of political leader Soni Sori, the rape of 16 Chhatisgarh tribal women, and the rape and murder of a young girl by the Indian armed forces. Swarnima states, “We protest not only the right of a woman to loiter in public, but also the impunity with which they are seen as “fair game” when they choose to own the streets. We protest not only the victim-blaming that followed after, but also the license men think they have to intrude upon women’s narratives and make them their own. We protest against the social mores that prevent young girls from going to school when they start menstruating, that make homeless women prey to all forms of abuse. We protest against the regime of self-regulation women in conflict areas have to follow to avoid being raped by armed forces. We are protesting to highlight the violence inherent in imposing restrictions on mobility for no better reason than ‘fear’.”
Kimberly Estrada, UCM student, states that it was truly amazing to witness so many people gather around the world to accomplish a common goal, “I think there should be more marches like this.”
Women and femmes of all different orientations, identities, races, nationalities, religions, abilities, and ages came together around the world to support the efforts of the Women’s March on Washington to fight patriarchal oppression. The march on Washington is the largest inauguration protest in history. The truly extraordinary aspect about these peaceful protests is that people from all around the world have shown that this isn’t just the US’s problem but a worldwide issue.