Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Women marching for women

This weekend thousands of women in cities across the world marched in support of women’s rights, the day after the inauguration of a US president who has shown he really doesn’t think very much of women or their rights.

The largest march was in Washington DC, with half a million women, men and children. But in London there were estimated to be more than 100,000.
Photo by Jane Dunton

Marching again Trump

They were marching because the most powerful country in the world, that considers itself the most progressive (although no one else does) has elected a President who believes it’s OK to sexually assault women. He openly said he thought they were fair game. If you want some of the detail on what President Trump thinks about women, there’s a nice roundup Trump-on-women piece in the Independent.

While so many of us around the world are rightly devastated by Friday’s inauguration, it is heartening to see people fighting back. Too often, feminism can seem like a niche concern – something that doesn’t affect half the world’s population (men) and that many women feel might make them seem more shouty and less feminine. On Saturday, thousands of women around the world made it a bit more mainstream. And that’s not to mention many men who marched with them, because  equality affects everyone.

Let’s hope that our worst fears of Trump presidency don’t come true, and that if they do men and women in the US and the rest of the world will unite against them, as they did this weekend. 

Photo by Jane Dunton

Marching and me

I didn’t march. I’m sad that I couldn’t be there. But my main reason is one that has affected women forever, and will probably continue to do so: I had to look after my child. Because like all women, with the exception of a few, like Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins, my daughter comes first, feminism second. I hope that I manage to combine parenting and feminism in her upbringing (and no, I couldn’t have taken her with me).

I have reflected that my reason for not marching is one of the main reasons we got into this pickle in the first place – why we always come second to men. Because we have to put children first. It’s at the heart of so much of what it means to be a woman. Even if we don’t ever want to have children, society expects that we probably will end up doing this, do we are inevitably tarred with the brush of biological determinism.

I wish I'd been there...
Photo by Jane Dunton

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