The Women's March 2017: A Worldwide Demonstration of Sisterhood
On January 21, 2017, women all over the world took to the streets to protest against the presidency of Donald Trump. It has been estimated that up to 5 million people worldwide participated in the marches, including up to 100,000 in London and 1million in the original march site of Washington. Although the majority of marches took place in the US, Canada, and Europe, there were marches in South America, Asia and Africa. The events were not just restricted to women, though; many men joined in as a way of demonstrating support for the women in their families, friends, and women in general. People were protesting not just for themselves, but for other people who will be affected by the course that Trump is likely to take.
Although vast numbers took part in the marches, a single day would clearly not be enough to have an impact on a man that many regard as dangerous, disturbing, and undeserving of the presidency. There is still considerable disbelief that voters elected a billionaire who has expressed extremely unpleasant comments about women, and the clear intent to cancel out many of the policies enacted by the Obama administration. The Women's March site suggests ideas for actions to continue protesting against the Trump administration over the next few months.
The marches were intended as a protest against Trump's election, and to express support for the rights of women, ethnic minorities, gay people, immigrants, trans people, and all the other groups who fear the erosion of their rights during a Trump presidency. There are grave concerns about the implications of the Trump presidency for the environment, healthcare, and many other issues, and people also wanted to speak out against the rise in attacks on such groups since the election. It may seem irrelevant for countries outside the US to protest an election that they had no part in, but the massive global response shows a recognition that the effects of the Trump administration will stretch far beyond US borders.
Will the Women's March change anything? On its own, probably not. Trump knows that many people dislike him, and doesn't appear to care. However, every popular movement has to begin somewhere, and it's significant that so many people were prepared to turn out and protest against his presidency. The marches also appear to have been trouble-free, upbeat, and left participants with a sense of hope. Slogans that appeared on banners and posters were clearly heartfelt, and chosen by the bearer as a genuine expression of their hopes and fears.
It's also significant that so many people joined in the marches right at the start of Trump's presidency - suggesting that he may expect vocal opposition to many of his decisions and actions. The fact that so many people took part in the marches could well have the effect of encouraging more people to speak out and campaign against Trump. While they may not be able to prevent him from repealing legislation and enacting new laws against the rights of the above groups, the popularity of the marches shows that people are not prepared to sit down and accept the situation.
Women are angry that a man who has frequently expressed abhorrent comments about women, and who has been accused of sexual misconduct, has been elected to the most powerful political position in the world. Every comment of this type he has made or will make during the next four years runs the risk of further alienating this substantial demographic - and as more and more people join in, the opposition will grow.