The day after President Trump’s inauguration, women all over the world organized sister marches parallel with the Women’s March on Washington, protesting bigotry and demanding civil liberties and equality for all.
The Women’s March was a response to the Trump administration. Women from Washington D.C. to Australia took part in marches, warning that they would not give up their rights silently. The crowd at the Women’s March on Washington was roughly three times larger than the crowd at the inauguration the day before, the New York Times reported.
Becca Godsey, a resident of Springfield, Missouri, attended the sister march in her city. “Before the march I was feeling very discouraged,” she said. “From the hurtful rhetoric, the lack of care or effort to create understanding, the violence. I attended the march because I needed to make a statement that what was going on was unacceptable and this marked a time when we need to hold ourselves – not just those we disagreed with – to higher standards.”
Fletcher Lowe, a sophomore management major at John Brown University, said that he supports the Women’s March. “It’s such a foreign idea to me that in American culture, narratives of feminism and manhood have been so disassociated [from] each other. Personally, I think that if anything, a redeemed view of masculinity should instigate belief in the importance of supported feminism,” he said. “I can’t stand by and watch so many of my brothers treat women with a desire for objectification, superiority, and, in a horrifying number of cases, sexual assault or violence…Just because feminism doesn’t cover my gender doesn’t mean that it still isn’t my responsibility.”
Madeline Bush, sophomore at Southwest Baptist University, also attended the march in Springfield. “I was pleasantly surprised to see so many men there! I would guess maybe one third of the crowd was male. It’s nice to know I’m supported by people who aren’t hurt by the same things I am, and they support me just because they care about me as a human,” Bush said.
Godsey said she was surprised by how many issues were represented at the march. “This march was inspiring. While I didn’t agree with every idea, there were more ideas supported than I anticipated and all were welcome. From environmental issues, LGBTQ, Pro-Life, race inequality, healthcare and more there was a sense of solidarity that we – a diverse group for Springfield, MO – would have to and want to work together,” she said.
Some have argued that because there are other countries in which women are treated more poorly, there is no reason for protest in America. Lowe responded to this idea; “The argument certainly has some merit – that we should be fighting inequality around the world as well as our own country, but that doesn’t address one simple question: ‘why wouldn’t we deal with it here?’ The march was certainly not without merit. All across the country we have women who, in addition to being oppressed, objectified, and scared, are now under a presidential administration who has time and time again proven to be misogynistic and derogatory toward women.”
Godsey said she believes enacting change can happen when people stand together rather than letting their differences divide them. “The takeaway is that we all have to begin at a point of common ground and work from there,” she said.
“If we care enough to support one another, listen to one another, to share real facts with one another, we find a lot more common ground that can produce real change,” Godsey finished.