Women have taken to the streets of our country to protest for equal rights since the early part of the 20th Century. Pushing for equality as individuals would never be as strong as showing our strength in numbers, and it became a critical part of gaining the early success involved in fighting inequities facing women every day. Those pictured above were marching in a Labor Parade as part of the Women's Trade Union League in 1911. They were marching down New York City's Fifth Avenue protesting for higher pay, shorter hours, fire safety, sanitary working conditions and child labor laws.
Two years later in 1913, thousands of women suffragetts boldly and bravely marched down Pennsylvania Avenue the day before President Woodrow Wilson's first Inaguartion in an attempt to be heard and seen in front of their biggest audience yet. They walked "in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society from which women are excluded." Their march had been years in the making, working to encourge and vitalize women to fight for the right that had been denied them since our founding days. Their historic battle resulted in the 19th Amendment to our Constitution granting women the right to vote in 1920.
We have a long history of patriarchy in our country that has restricted women's roles in society for more years than ever should have been allowed. 100 years after those first marches, inequality and sexism remain a part of women's lives today. There is nothing right about it. This past election has raised its awareness once again resulting in the first steps of early next generation activism.
The day after President Donald Trump's Inaguration, an estimated 200 thousand women and supporting men are expected to gather in our nation's Capital for the Women's March on Washington. Their numbers continue to grow as sister marches are being organized in cities across the country and around the world. Mothers, daughters and grandmothers will be marching together, generation to generation, in a solidarity of concern for our futures as women. A divisive presidential campaign has succeded in dividing us in more ways than are healthy. The frustration level felt among many women reflecting how they were dealt with during the campaign and how their lives will potentially be affected during the Trump presidency has provided the basis for the sweeping show of support the Women's March has attracted. There now is a place to purposefully vent.
What began with a Facebook post the day after the election now has the potential to become another landmark event for women. Like those marches that came before, this one is seizing the moment.
The Women's March formal mission statement includes the following:
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.
Organizers of the march have said that their event is not about Trump but rather the inequities his actions represent. But it is about Trump. Women are marching because they instinctively know they have to march. Too many feel their voices went unheard in this past election, and too much of what they care about is at a critical state of disregard. Now is the time to get involved anew and act.