On January 21st 2017 people of all genders, races and ages joined in the “Women’s March on Washington”. Its primary purpose was to highlight the sexist remarks made by Donald Trump and to oppose his potential plan of abolishing abortion, issues fundamentally concerning women, and was therefore named “The Women’s March”. However, this sparked many people to campaign for other reasons and encouraged men and children to campaign alongside these women.
But wait, the march didn’t just happen in the capitol, but also all over the USA and all over the world.
Thousands of women attended the London march on Saturday, with even more at other marches in UK towns and cities including Belfast, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh.Worldwide more than 600 marches have been organised, from the Antarctic, to the Bahamas.
The march drew at least half a million in Washington, and some estimates put worldwide participation at 4.8 million. That is a lot of people.
Demonstrators were calling for racial and gender equality , immigration reform, health care reform, protection of the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, workers rights and religious freedom- issues which they say are under threat from a Trump presidency. Obviously these issues were only a threat due to Trump within the USA, so why did so many people from other countries, like the UK, join the campaign? British marchers have highlighted a wide range of issues: the Brexit vote, anti-immigration feeling, the refugee crisis and Irish and Northern Irish women being denied access to abortion. Other people from other countries used this march as an opportunity to voice their opinions on what they feel is wrong.
This brings up the debate about the naming of the campaign. Some men say they feel alienated by the march’s name. whether the event is “un-masculine”, while some women demonstrators have wondered whether men feel threatened by an event organized solely by women. Additionally, many critics say that it was a “cry for attention” and that it only gained this much publicity due to it being the day after Trump’s inauguration.
As well as being one of the broadest campaigns, it also received a broad range of criticism. Many say it was “an overreaction”, “pointless”, “seeking the solution of an already resolved problem” and “the snowflake generation at work” (hmm) . In addition it received a great deal of acclaim and some people thought “it was an absolutely brilliant show of unity, women marching and protesting for their rights, as well as many others”. Many people who did not know much about the issues brought up in these marches said that they felt “empowered” and “inspired” after seeing campaign photos on social media and this has now encouraged a new wave of young people to get more involved. This range of responses were largely a result of the internet and is causing divisions among friends and families.
However, one thing that can be universally agreed on is that the 21st of January 2017 will be remembered throughout history. Donald Trump himself is one of the most controversial people ever and this is one of the events that will be remembered next to his name. This is one of the only marches which sparked a global movement and therefore secures its spot in the history books. This is one of the most controversial campaigns as it faced a variety of criticisms and acclamation. This was one of the most inter-sectional broad campaigns ever and received far more support than was originally expected. This has sparked discussions among millions upon millions of people and has encouraged thousands of young individuals to become politically active, whether they were in support or critical of the movement. That within itself is an achievement and will hopefully be the start of a new generation becoming more involved in social and political issues and a generation that will potentially be more socially divided than ever.
-Aneesa Ahmed, year 12