I attended the Women’s March on Washington event in Auckland, New Zealand a few weeks ago. I was awe struck by the amount of love, support and strength I felt by merely walking alongside other women who all shared the same desire: equality. This grassroots movement initially developed in the USA as its organizers grew tired of hearing the derogatory, misogynistic rhetoric of the 2016 Presidential Election cycle on a continual basis. And, rightfully so.
President Donald Trump has belittled, insulted and sexualized women throughout the majority of his controversial career. No man should get a pass for deeming it common law to be “more sexually attracted to [his] daughter than [his] wife.” Nobody should be able to openly discuss walking into women’s changing rooms without notice “because he can” without public backlash. And above all, there is absolutely no reason any man should be able to boast about sexual assault – regardless whether he holds star power or not.
The movement went global, and I mean GLOBAL. Sister marches took place on all seven continents and in scores of cities worldwide; streets filled with those marching toward a better future. Across the world, women lifted one another up and silenced the bigoted people opposed to this movement by gathering in a non-violent, proactive and sensible manner. Pretty incredible, right?
Well, not everyone agrees. Like this guy for instance:
There’s a strong meaning behind all of the support this movement had around the globe, and it comes from various viewpoints and locations! I got a chance to ask women [and men – hi, Ian!] about their personal meaning behind the Women’s March on Washington. I was beyond touched by their answers. Take a look!
Sarah Kim of Tales From a Fork: The Netherlands
“I marched to hold onto the progress we’ve made from caring about each other’s wellbeing and to carry it into the future for generations to come.”
Kayla Kiteley of A Book of Maps: Seoul, South Korea
“I march for inter sectional feminism. I march to carry on what the women before be fought for, what some gave their lives for. I march because we are not treated as equals in society and because marginalized women are treated as even less of an equal. I march because I want girls all over the world to know that they have the right to vote, the right to an education, to receive safe and affordable healthcare. For them to know that they should feel safe wearing whatever they want and loving whomever they want. I march because I want girls to know that they have the choice to have children or not, that they have the choice to be a stay at home mom or be the CEO of a company and that no one will judge them for their decision based on their gender. I march because I won’t be silenced any longer and because I want all human beings, of all races, creeds, ethnicity, tribes, countries and nations to be equal regardless of their gender or sexuality. “
Lisa Susan: Edinburgh, Scotland
“I marched to show elected officials that the pattern of intolerance in policies and messages right now is not acceptable, not just for women, but for immigrants, people of color, the homeless, the poor.”
Brenna Holeman of This Battered Suitcase: London, United Kingdom
“Personally, I didn’t march solely for myself. As a woman, I have felt sexism, misogyny, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault. But as a privileged white woman, I can never know what it feels like to be someone in an even more marginalised group. On Saturday I marched to show my support for these groups, to show my belief that all women should have the right to choose what’s right for their bodies as well as have access to the health care systems that support it, and to show solidarity with people around the world who are frustrated with the way things are.”
Michelle Legge of Legging It: Rome, Italy
“I marched because what the US does often has a direct impact on policies around the world. They often lead the way for change and as a mother of daughters, I do not want to see our rights going backwards. I also marched as I felt it was a way to express my concern about growing populism in the world…there is a rising unfounded unnecessary fear of ‘the other’ in many countries and because of the constant reporting of this election it is giving legitimacy to this hate.”
Tammy Turner Wahlström: Stockholm, Sweden
“I marched because I believe it’s making voices heard….. We as women of this country have come a long way since 1923! Looking forward, not back. Pressing on for more respect, dignity and equality. I for one know that my household would not run as smoothly without me, yet my paycheck is what keeps us going. I support women in and out of the domestic setting. We are important everywhere!”
Shimina D’Vorah: Manchester, United Kingdom
“I attended the march because I don’t want to see a world in which the progress we’ve made is being undermined or reversed. Trump has shown an appalling attitude towards women and yet he’s now in a position of power, and I feel like this sends the wrong message, so we have to counter that with our own.”
Billie Frank of Santa Fe Travelers: Santa Fe, New Mexico
“I marched to support women’s rights which I feel are very threatened by our new repressive administration. I’ve been working for women’s rights my entire life. I’m the daughter of an early 20th century feminist and she taught me well. It amazes me that women don’t have the same rights, pay, protections as men do and women around the world have had to fight for this for years and are still fighting for it. We need to go forward not backward and women need to speak up. We need control over our bodies, our financial decisions and our entire lives.”
Rachel House: Palmer, Alaska
“I marched for two reasons, first to take a stand in our small conservative town and second because I wanted to show my three daughters that we must speak up for what we believe in.”
Naomi Pahl: Edmonton, Alberta
“We’ve had many family discussions about women’s rights and bringing our kids to this event was the perfect introduction for these #feministsintraining !! We need to build on this momentum and get more women in political roles and events like this are revitalizing for our cause! If we could get gender parity in all our elected positions all across the world, our earth would be transformed! Here’s to raising the next generation of feminist political leaders!”
Brianne Miers of A Travelling Life: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
“I’ve been feeling very sad and restless since the election – scared about what a Trump presidency will mean for not only our country but also for the world – so I wanted to march so I could join together with like-minded people in a positive atmosphere and start harnessing our collective power to protect the rights of women and marginalized groups during the next four years. It was a beautiful day, and I came away energized and invigorated for the fight ahead.”
Deah Hester of Palm Tree Musings: Washington D.C., USA
“Because I will not turn a blind eye to the actions of our president.”
Penny Sadler: Dallas, Texas, USA
“I marched because I believe in equality for all, not only for women. And because as a woman, I have enjoyed the benefits of all the women who struggled and fought for all women, long before I was born. It was my way of honoring them and standing up for everyone.”
Mia Dionne: Redondo Beach, California, USA
Emily Taylor: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
“As a warning that we will not sit idly by as our sisters’ rights are in danger.”
Fanny Minka of Minka Guides: London, United Kingdom
“I marched because I’ve been marching/protesting/
Ian Watkins: Park City, Utah, USA
“I marched for women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community; all of which have been fighting to be heard and recognized as societal equals for generations. I marched for my grandparents who participated in the Million Man March, I march because I’m angry that a racist, sexist, pussy-grabbing xenophobe got into the White House by the luck of 80,000 votes being cast in certain counties in three states, when the most qualified woman to ever run for president received nearly 3 million more than Trump.”
Emily Kydd of See Her Travel: Washington, D.C., USA
“I refuse to turn my back on people of colour; of the Islamic faith; of the LGBTQ community; of refugee camps; or on my entire gender in the fight for reproductive rights, equal pay, respect, and dignity… I will choose to be a nasty woman EVERY SINGLE DAY until we all live in a country and a world where the streets are safe for all and where each person has the right and the access to the health care their bodies require.”
Jennifer LaTouf DePizzo: Austin, Texas, USA
“I marched for my sisters around the world. I marched for my best friends and all the amazing women I’ve yet to meet. I marched for the women incapable of understanding why we marched. I marched for myself and the single mother who raised me. As a teacher, I marched for my students…all of my students. More than anything, I marched for my daughter that is yet to be born. I marched to let her know that it is important to fight for those that face a harder life than you do, to fight for justice and equality, and to put more love out into the universe than the hate and ignorance trying to bring it down. Everyday I march for her and the life she will have the joy to live one day…in whatever way she chooses.”
Sydney LeVan: Oakland, California, USA
“As a white woman who was raised in the lower-middle class, I have not lived life with the discrimination and intolerance faced by women who are black and brown, transgendered, handicapped, and of various other minority factions. I marched to stand in solidarity with them and to show that we are a united force against a hateful figurehead with a misogynistic agenda to stifle women’s freedoms and rights to their own bodies. I marched to send a message to our new leadership that we, as a nation of women and allies, will not stand for intolerance and bigotry, and will demand equal rights and protection under the law for ALL members of this nation.”
Read more about Sydney’s thoughts on intersectional feminism here.
Shanna: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
“I marched because I have been a victim of sexual abuse and assault. I marched because I refuse to quietly accept the presidency of a man who is proud enough to publicly brag about assaulting women. I marched because little girls, little boys, all the people of our country deserve a better role model and a better leader than Donald Trump.
I marched because it is never acceptable to demean, belittle or attack another person based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or handicap. I marched because I am proud of the forward movement our country has made and because I refuse to go backwards. I marched because I believe in a better future for all of humanity – a future better than Donald Trump.”
Hilary Hope: Champaign, Illinois, USA
“I marched because I want to live in a country where all people are truly seen as equals. Racism, bigotry, transphobia, and sexism make this world impossible for too many people. I was so proud to stand with millions of other women and allies and show our numbers. We are so incredibly powerful together.”
Chelsea Peck of Candidly Chellie: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
“I marched for a better tomorrow for women, minorities, LGBTQ and the disabled. If our president isn’t going to stand up for the diverse citizens of this country (not just those he relates to), we all need to join together and protect each other.”
Laura Nalin of Willful and Wildhearted: Auckland, New Zealand
I marched for anyone who feels uncomfortable that the leader of the free world has had dozens of sexual assault charges filed against him since the 1970s. I marched for LGBTQIA+ members, immigrants, people of color and the disabled who feel as though they don’t have an equal place in America, and fear they never will. I marched for all the women and allies across the world who’ve stood up for themselves before me and to inspire those who will march after me.
I marched for those who are too afraid to shout their own truth with pride; for those like Tomi Lahren who mock and tease without remembering the women of our past who made it possible to vote and work by marching all those years ago. I want my future children, grandchildren and beyond to know I stood up for what I believe in, and they can, too.
So, here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
I have a feeling this is just the beginning. The fight for equality will continue across the world – for everyone. Did you participate in this movement? Let me know in the comments below!