2018 Will Be The Year Of The Women
Women’s March on Washington 2017
Women’s March on Washington 2017 | The National Mall is seeing a hundreds of thousands of visitors for the second day in a row as people are starting to gather in the capital for the Women’s March. A number of high-profile speakers are expected to address those at the rally, including Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Roberts, and director Michael Moore.
2017 Women’s March
Logo for the Women’s March on Washington
The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. Most of the rallies were aimed at Donald Trump, immediately following his inauguration as President of the United States, largely due to statements that he had made and positions that he had taken which were regarded by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive. It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.
The first planned protest was in Washington, D.C., and is known as the Women’s March on Washington. According to organizers it was meant to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.” The Washington March was streamed live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
In total, between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 people participated in the Women’s March in the United States. The Washington March drew 440,000 to 500,000 people, and worldwide participation has been estimated at over five million. At least 408 marches were reported to have been planned in the U.S. and 168 in 81 other countries. After the marches, officials who organized them reported that 673 marches took place worldwide, on all seven continents, including 29 in Canada, 20 in Mexico, and one in Antarctica. In Washington D.C. alone, the march was the largest single political demonstration since the anti–Vietnam War protests in the 1960s and 1970s. The Women’s March crowds were peaceful, and no arrests were made in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle, where an estimated combined total of two million people marched.
Following the march, the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington posted the “10 Actions for the first 100 Days” campaign for joint activism to keep up the momentum from the march.
Demonstrators at the Women’s March on Washington in Washington, D.C.
On November 9, 2016, the day after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, in reaction to Trump’s election campaign and political views, and his defeat of female presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Teresa Shook of Hawaii created a Facebook event and invited friends to march on Washington in protest. Similar Facebook pages created by Evvie Harmon, Fontaine Pearson, Bob Bland (a New York fashion designer), Breanne Butler, and others quickly led to thousands of women signing up to march. Harmon, Pearson, and Butler decided to unite their efforts and consolidate their pages, beginning the official Women’s March on Washington. To ensure that the march was led by women of differing races and backgrounds, Vanessa Wruble, co-founder, and co-president of Okayafrica, served as Head of Campaign Operations and brought on Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour to serve as National Co-Chairs alongside Bland. Former Miss New Jersey USA Janaye Ingram served as Head of Logistics. Filmmaker Paola Mendoza served as Artistic Director and a National Organizer.
Organizers claimed that they were “not targeting Trump specifically” and that the event was “more about being proactive about women’s rights”. Sarsour called it “a stand on social justice and human rights issues ranging from race, ethnicity, gender, religion, immigration and healthcare.” Still, opposition to and defiance of Trump infused the protests, which were sometimes directly called anti-Trump protests.
Planned Parenthood partnered with the march by providing staff and offering knowledge related to planning a large-scale event. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards asserted that the march would “send a strong message to the incoming administration that millions of people across this country are prepared to fight attacks on reproductive healthcare, abortion services and access to Planned Parenthood, [which] hopes that [in the future] many of the protesters will mobilize in its defense when Trump and congressional Republicans make their attempt to strip the organization of millions in federal funding.” The national organizing director stressed the importance of continuing action at a local level and remaining active after the event.
Vanessa Wruble, co-founder, brought on Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour to serve as National Co-Chairs alongside Bob Bland. The four co-chairs were Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York; Tamika Mallory, a political organizer and former executive director of the National Action Network; Carmen Perez, an executive director of the political action group The Gathering for Justice; and Bob Bland, a fashion designer who focuses on ethical manufacturing. Gloria Steinem, Harry Belafonte, LaDonna Harris, Angela Davis and Dolores Huerta served as honorary co-chairs.
Seven women coordinated marches outside the U.S. The women were: Brit-Agnes Svaeri, Oslo, Norway; Marissa McTasney, Toronto, Canada; Karen Olson, Geneva, Switzerland; Kerry Haggerty, London, United Kingdom; Rebecca Turnbow, Sydney, Australia; and Breanne Butler and Evvie Harmon in the United States. The women organized the international marches through social media and had weekly Skype meetings to plot strategy.
On January 12, the march organizers released a policy platform addressing reproductive rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, religious discrimination (primarily that against Muslim Americans), LGBTQ rights, gender and racial inequities (primarily those that favor men and Non-Hispanic whites, respectively), workers’ rights, and other issues. “Build bridges, not walls” (a reference to Trump’s proposals for a border wall) became popular worldwide after the Trump’s inaugural address, and was a common refrain throughout the march.
The organizers also addressed environmental issues: “We believe that every person and every community in our nation has the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. We believe that our environment and our climate must be protected and that our land and natural resources cannot be exploited for corporate gain or greed—especially at the risk of public safety and health.”