Post-Women’s March thoughts: We must not be complacent
Like many others last weekend, I was glued to Twitter, furiously re-tweeting all the amazing witty picket signs, the stats on the sheer numbers of those who turned out, and the love and support reflected throughout the Women's March. I wasn’t able to attend myself, but I felt such pride in watching both women and men take to the streets and show just how many people truly care about equality.
Stand up for what you believe in and you'll be deemed a 'rabid feminist' or a 'nasty woman'. The day of the Women’s marches was one where these names, created to keep women quiet, were visibly embraced by the masses and turned into battle cries.
Throughout the Women’s marches, a great many number of communities and causes all on the quest for equality were present – marriage equality, trans rights, anti-racist initiatives, climate change advocates – showing that women’s equality should, and must be, one that fights for all of those that are marginalised.
The Women’s marches were an instance of women being permitted their one day of activism. and yet they were still attacked and belittled for being hysterical, for being sore losers, or for just plain being silly by a demographic we’re all too familiar with by now.
The demand by Piers Morgan, Trump’s cheerleader and an all-round chauvinist pig, for a men's March in retaliation is the perfect testament to how rare it is for women's rights to be so visible in both public spaces and on public media platform’s, as well as how threatened many men like Morgan seem to be by women having equal rights.
As much as Trump would like to think so, this march wasn't about him. This was about the cuts to funding for services used primarily by women. That women's rights are human rights. It was about love in the face of bigotry, misogyny and the dismissal of locker room banter. It also happens that Trump poses a threat to these services and ideologies.
In the week that followed these worldwide marches Trump signed an executive order to repeal Obamacare, reinstated the global gag order to take away US aid from organisations that provide abortion services overseas, and the now infamous and truly awful Muslim ban, as well as many more regressive policies:
The key thing to take away from the Women’s marches, and as we go into Trump’s second week, is that women and men that believe in equality can commandeer a lot of power, and there are millions of likeminded others around the world.
So, stand for election. Pressure your MP on cuts to services for women and minorities. Show up and demonstrate. Call out the hypocrisy on the punishment of women having abortions and the lack of support for mothers with childcare, maternity pay and career progression if they have kept their child.
The women's marches have been a stark reminder, I think, on how rare it is to see women’s (and minorities’) rights featuring prominently on the news and staying there on such a huge scale. Now, more than ever, we mustn’t lose our focus or let our anger die.
Written by Olivia Weatherill.
You can find more from Olivia by following her on Twitter @livweatherill.