On January 21st, the women of the world surprised everyone, perhaps even themselves, by staging a global march to protest the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
So, where are we now?
First, we should note that the Women’s March kicked off a wave of marches and protests for a range of people and topics. Health care, immigrants, science, climate change, and other causes got increased attention, largely thanks to the mobilization inspired by the Women’s March. And, as you can see in any of the photos of those events, from marches on Washington to airport protests, women have been present, in large numbers, at all of them.
Local organizing has been amazingly active. And, again, women are leading it and working for it everywhere.
Women in America are signing up to run for office in record numbers. It may well be that the big surprise in the 2018 mid-terms won’t be a swing to the Democrats (though I pray that will happen), but a sudden and dramatic increase in female office-holders. Wouldn’t that be nice?
A Day Without A Woman was held. At the very least, this symbolic timeout foregrounded the unique challenges for women, as story after story documented women who couldn’t leave children or the elderly-—or who couldn’t strike without another woman having to pick up the slack. One woman said she could not strike while remembering how much her mother had sacrificed for the right to work. I still say we are going to have to think of something else besides strikes. That tactic is good for labor. It does not fit the cause of gender.
But we also finally got Bill O’Reilly canned. This was the result of 72 advertisers pulling their media budgets from Fox. And it was an expression of the consumer power of females. I still say, and will continue to say, that consumption is where the activism should focus. It is the biggest economic strength that women have and an arena for activism in which all women can participate. Would advertisers have withdrawn so quickly and publicly without having been confronted with the solidarity of marching women and the potential for concerted action? I really don’t think so.
And Uber. Wow. I think, for the first time, the tech industry began to notice their own despicably sexist culture–and maybe even be a little ashamed of it. Would that have happened without the women’s march? Actually, I don’t think so.
A Women’s March Conference has now been planned for October 26-28. It’s supposed to be a way to get together and think of new ways to act. I got an email about it this morning. Don’t know where. Just a SAVE THE DATE. And I will.
I am saddened, though, by a reminder that came through via my daily reports from the Guardian. They did a relatively lengthy piece today reminding everyone that we are also about six months away from Trump enacting the Global Gag Rule, decision that is already diminishing the health prospects of women all over the world. Did Trump choose to implement this rule because of the Women’s March? Yeah, I know it has become a ritual for American Presidents to flex their first muscle in office by either reinstating or revoking this “Mexico City Rule.” But in my mind, Trump did this to get back at all the women around the world who marched against him not 48 hours earlier.
The Netherlands stepped in to fill that gap. Thank you. Thank you. It was so reassuring to see the international community act on behalf of those women.
But it does remind me, again today, that American women must not let this fight become tunnel-focused on US politics. Americans do have a way of thinking they are alone in the universe. But we must remember that the women of all the world marched with us on January 21st and that our president responded by revoking health assistance to women globally. Our reciprocal obligation to our sisters everywhere is to remember that American politics does not stop at our borders.
Still, I don’t want to end by wagging a finger. We got enough of that before the march.
It’s a job well done. By all of us who marched, everywhere. And by all of us who have stayed in the game, marching still more and working for justice.
Way to go, ladies.