By Srishti Kalra
The Trump presidency poses a threat to issues such as planned parenthood, affordable healthcare, restrictive abortion laws, and workplace deregulation.
In an attempt to combat this, the US evidenced the largest demonstration of women’s march clogging cities from Washington to Los Angeles to New York.
What began as a Facebook post just after the election managed to create history in US. With near 200 marches and a participating of 3.3 million, there were elements ranging from celebrity support to pink ‘pussyhats’. Yet the ‘peaceful’ protest made a sound mark throughout the globe. In solidarity with women around the world, near 1,00,000 protestors marched on London to display dissent against Trump. But to what extent were the protests about Trump’s politics, rather than about women having right to stand up for their choice? And if so, would protesting against the results of a fair democratic election, over the beliefs of a condescending faction, help to produce a political change?The women’s march in London. | Photo Courtesy: IB Times UK
London’s multifaceted stand
[su_pullquote align=”right”]They said their mission statement is to take a stand against growing right-wing political sentiment in all its forms. This included homophobia, transphobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, misogyny, class prejudice and racism.[/su_pullquote]
From earliest female writers and activists arguing for rational social order and women education to strong monarchs of the kingdom at times of extreme depth and darkness of politics, United Kingdom beholds its position of forbearer of feminist movements by the likes of Mary Wollstonecraft and Queen Elizabeth. Upholding their principles, Ludi from south London said at the march, “women’s rights is a huge issue. We have had choice and we want our daughters to have that.”
The march at London was not restrained to a democratic process but a chance to highlight a wide range of issues. They said their mission statement is to take a stand against growing right-wing political sentiment in all its forms. This included homophobia, transphobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, misogyny, class prejudice and racism. Surprising is this stance by the protestors who voted in majority for a right winged anti-immigration Brexit move. Or is this only the leftist anti-Brexit and Trump opposing faction that is apparent by its banners in the marches and vehemence on social media?
An indifference to misogyny
It is irrefutable that a whopping 42 percent of women from varying backgrounds voted for Donald Trump in the US elections. This is despite his demeaning remarks about sexually harassing women. The derogatory statements acted as a spur to infuriated expressions like, “when the most powerful man in the world says it’s okay to sexually assault women because you are rich and powerful, we have to stand up and say no way”.
Banners like ‘Free Melania’ in the London rally were raised, proving the undermined safety and advancement of women in workplace and higher education. But sadly, his remarks could not influence an opinion switch for the 62 percent blue collar white women without college degrees and 45 percent white women with college degrees who voted Trump over a first female president. This, thereby, justifies the fears of a rise of the populist right who blame economic problems on minorities.Women protesting the election of Donald Trump. | Photo Courtesy: The Metro (UK)
Paving the road for future rallies
What lies ahead is the difference these marches can make in the legal democratic decisions. The New York Times stated, “the challenge facing the organizers is how to channel the resolve and outrage of an organic protest into action that produces political change.”
But another side of the march over and above its political impact is the expression of a broad range of values and coming together to move forward and act upon issues like gender equality.
Actress Niamh McGrady calls the demonstration “a march in solidarity with those who are being failed, those who are vulnerable, those who need a voice”. The solidarity of women in such numbers surely instills hope in the entitlement women behold of their beliefs.
Featured Image Courtesy: The Nation
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