How the Women’s March Was SeenThe race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was watched with a lot of interest by people all over the world. It was not a clean fight with severe accusations being flung from one side to another. But one thing stood out and raised a lot of concerns: the attitude of candidate Donald Trump toward women. Never have public events ended in such shock as when The Donald was caught referring to women as sex objects he could not control himself around. Women all over American were enraged, so you can only imagine the emotional roller coaster they found themselves on once Trump has won the electoral race and was sworn in.
Therefore, one day after the president’s inauguration, a massive manifestation was held in Washington, to show that women intend to stand up to an attitude that is not respectful and fair. What is more, the event got so much attention and its preparation had so much coverage, that women all over the world felt the need to tune in and make a statement.
The Women’s March on Washington and the World in Numbers
January 21st is a date to remember because it was the day 3 million people decided to make a stand.
But here are the actual numbers:
• Almost 1 in 100 Americans attended the march on Washington or any other of the marches organized throughout the country;
• There were almost 500 other sister marches organized at the same time;
• Washington had 500,000 people
• New York had around 500,000 people
• LA had between 500,000 and 750,000 people
• Chicago had 250,000 people
• Between 80,000 and 100,000 people joined the march from the UK in cities like London, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds and Belfast.
• 3,000 people gathered in Sidney, 5,000 gathered in Melbourne and 2,000 gathered in 4 cities in New Zealand
• There were protesters even in Nairobi with placards saying that women were standing up against exploitation, trafficking, hate and terror.
What Was the March all About?
The march and the impressive, record-setting numbers have often been compared to the small attendance registered by president Trump at his inauguration. Even so, organizers claim that this was not an anti-Trump protest, even though many of the people who hoped on a train or on a bus to join had this on their minds first and foremost.
Originally, the March started off as a small event organized via Facebook events by retired attorney Teresa Shook. She wanted to remind people of civil rights, the fact that the fight for equality is not yet won and far for being over and that women need to come together. Sure, the context of a white, entitled male who said horrible things about women throughout his campaign was a great incentive to organize a protest.
Right after the Facebook event was created, thousands of women expressed their desire to join. Feeling overwhelmed by the large numbers, Shook turned the event over to the Planned Parenthood and Equality Now organizations who knew just how to turn everybody’s attention toward civil rights and other burning issues for women. In the end, everybody came to the protest bearing something different in mind. Some women were driven by the need to discuss the wage gap, others were keen on making sure that they can still decide on what happens inside their own body, as president Trump made some references regarding planned parenthood. There were people who attended out of concern for affordable health care, while others simply wanted to have their voices heard and speak out against some of the things that were said during the campaign and that seemed not to influence the result.
The Significance of the Women’s March
Although organizers said this was a march for civil rights and women’s rights, and although everybody present there had their own reasons, it was pretty obvious what it meant for Donald Trump. For starters, it took place on day one of his presidency. It came right after the day of his inauguration with few people in the crowd.
On the other hand, around 3 million people saw a threat in what this president represented. An ugly campaign and a history of mistreating women, rallying next to groups that planned to limit women’s rights and being oblivious to many of the pleas made up to date by people fighting for equality, were all reasons to face the cold and protest in many of the cities of the US and worldwide.
Solidarity was the key word. But why would people in Africa, Australia and European countries care whether women in American have the right to get an abortion of an unplanned baby, whether they will still have access to medical services and whether they get fair pay? Because for a very long time the rest of the world has been getting its queues of civil rights and freedom for the US and from Western European countries. Should any of these power poles go down, the rest of the world will be left to fend for itself alone, in even harsher conditions and with even more limited resources.
The Women’s March on Washington proved how many people cared about the rights and freedom of women, the life standard and the respect everybody deserves as a citizen. Yes, it came as a response to everything Donald Trump did during his campaign, but the issue needs to transcend him and his actions.
An idea transitions to an institution when the people who had it and who have started spreading it are gone, and yet the idea lives on in the hearts and minds of others. The idea of equal rights for women needs to stand on its own. Women and men need to come together to protect it not only when it comes under such heavy attacks, not only when the threat is so palpable for everyone and not only when the person attacking it is disliked by many and yet still manages to become president. The idea needs to stand on its own under all circumstances. And this is how it will become an undeniable institution.