On Saturday, January 21st, 2017, people around the world marched for equality, diversity, inclusion, as part of the Women’s March on Washington and the Women’s March Global events. Based on statistics, millions of individuals in the United States (Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, etc) and multiple cities around the world such as London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Auckland, Melbourne, Cape Town, Paris rallied in support of women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, health care reform, environment protection, etc.
The annual “Women’s March Global”, which has “sister marches” on all continents, brands itself as a proactive international movement, which revolves around addressing reproductive rights, immigration reform, workers’ rights, and strives for religious, gender and racial equality among other matters.
This year’s marches in the United States have gathered a significant number of pro-choice individuals aiming to send a clear message to the country’s new president, Donald Trump, about the importance of respecting women’s right to make decisions about their own bodies. President Trump displayed a pro-life rhetoric during his presidential campaign and has signed an executive order eliminating funding for international Planned Parenthood organisations. In response to the 2017 Women’s March rallies, the pro-life organisation “March for Life”, has scheduled an event expected to take place on January 27th, in Washington DC; guest speakers include Kellyanne Conway, Senior Counsellor to president Trump, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City. The March for Life is an annual pro-life rally held on or around the anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s decision legalising abortion in the case Roe v. Wade. The overall goal of the march is to reverse this decision.
The 2017 WMG events brought together various groups of individuals including immigrants, those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify themselves as LGBTQIA, native people, individuals with disabilities, standing in solidarity with their partners and children for the protection of human rights, individual safety, health, and diversity. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, actresses Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Ashley Judd, Emma Watson, Amy Schumer and America Ferrera, activist Gloria Steinem, singers Cher and Madonna were among the participants, aiming to energise the crowds with their voices. While overall the WMG rallies appeared to be conducted in a peaceful manner, some of the comments Madonna made(6) in regards to Donald Trump and the White House may have created divergent waves, shifting the attention away from intended message of the WMW. This example highlights the importance of peaceful rallying and staying on course with the general platform and underlying goal of the event in order to effectively convey a concise message with maximum impact on the audience.
Moving forward, the WMW aims to inspire the new generation by creating the WMW Youth Ambassador program(2) targeting the activism, interests and unique perspective of the child, adolescent and teenage populations by providing a platform of civic engagement where the youth may express their thoughts and aspirations.
While important changes seem to be taking place in the world, initiatives like the Women’s March Global may represent an opportunity to present a united international stance on women’s equality worldwide and protect the spirit of democracy. They may also pave the path towards unifying communities – grounded in new relationships and synergies, to create change from the grassroots up and work towards obtaining parity and equality for women at all levels in society.
Event updates on Women’s March Global may be found via twitter at @WM_Global, on Facebook at facebook.com/WomensMarchGlobal and on Instagram at @WomensMarchGlobal by following the hashtag #WomensMarchGlobal
How may the energy of the Women’s March 2017 galvanize into a powerful grassroots movement?