21 January was an amazing day. It is cause for tremendous optimism that so many were galvanised to make a stand for equality, respect, justice right across the world - an estimated five million came together globally.
In London we saw 100,000 people, women, men and children, come together to say 'enough is enough'. They came together to say they want change. They came together to say that they will no longer allow the politics of fear and division to run rife. Unity, solidarity, equality, hope were the calls for the day. So many said that it was the best march they had ever attended, the most hopeful, the most heartening. That it was right to be standing together to affirm the power of solidarity, equality and hope.
We were all reminded that we are stronger when we stand together.
There seemed to be everywhere a real commitment to this not being a one-off event but for the day to be a springboard to a renewed commitment to all our shared responsibility for our social and political conversation. It was wonderful to be clearing up after the event to see so many groups of young people gathered around Trafalgar Square, not wanting to leave, talking about the politics of the day, how they felt about it all, what they wanted to do about it.
It is our hope and belief that everyone who attended the march will now look to how they can act within their communities, to engage with volunteering, local politics, campaigning in any ways they are able and to make a difference.
Oxfam released a report recently saying our economics are 'broken'. We have heard the shocking fact that the eight richest billionaires hold the same wealth as the poorest 3.6billion. We have seen politicians using discriminatory language and practice to deflect attention from this central and dangerous economic reality. Extreme inequality makes lives precarious. When lives are precarious there is fear: how will I be able to afford my home, how will I be able to afford to look after my family, what will I do if my uncertain work contract comes to an end. How wrong it is that this fear and anxiety is cynically exploited to promote division and conflict along lines of race, poverty, misogyny. To do so is to service and protect the most serious and entrenched economic inequality and to put those most vulnerable on the frontline of it's repercussions.
We would like to know now, who are our leaders serving? We want to see change. A billionaire can not bring unity to a society. A billionaire who denies climate change cannot protect our planet. A billionaire who is misogynist and racist can not serve unity.
The same is true here. Serious economic disparity must be addressed and we do not trust many of those in Westminster to do that job. How can these politicians serve these issues when so clearly their own social position and those of their associates would be impacted?
A great many organisations and groups working across so many areas of social struggle supported us in our action on 21 January. Organisations and groups that are committed to working to alleviate the impact of the serious harm that inequality perpetuates. We would like to see overly centralised self-absorbed Westminster politicians to start listening to what these organisations have to tell them. We want to see grassroots up political change and we want our politicians to start listening, to start learning and to start acting.
We are no longer prepared to see division and hate stoked along lines of race, gender, class, poverty - and all the other fault lines of discrimination. We are no longer prepared to see discriminatory language and practice used as a political tool. We ask our politicians to remember the values of honesty, integrity, respect and equality. We ask them to take a serious look at how we can move forward together with respect and commitment.
In the wake of the Women's March the movement has continued to build. We unite with the International Women's Strike on 8 March as we gather our friends, families, neighbours and coworkers and make plans to stand up for economic justice, affirmatively building community and supporting local, women and minority owned businesses. Women and our allies will act together creatively to withdraw from the corporations that harm us and find ways to support the businesses, organisations and communities that sustain us.
The decision to strike is a deeply personal one and we respect each woman's individual choice. We acknowledge that the most marginalised face additional risks and burdens in taking days off from working.
A strike can take many forms - from a withdrawal of labour, to economic support or individual actions that show solidarity.
Many women around the World will be choosing to participate in A Day Without a Woman on March 8, something anyone, anywhere can participate in either by one or all of the following ways:
- Wear RED in solidarity
- Do not engage in paid or unpaid labour.
- Avoid spending money, with the exception of supporting small women and minority owned businesses that champion gender, racial and economic equity
Tell us across social media what you are doing and please share on the day. Please also - if it is possible and safe to do so - tell your co- workers, neighbours and families what you are doing and why. Together our power is immense.
HuffPost UK is running a month-long project in March called All Women Everywhere, providing a platform to reflect the diverse mix of female experience and voices in Britain today
Through blogs, features and video, we'll be exploring the issues facing women specific to their age, ethnicity, social status, sexuality and gender identity. If you'd like to blog on our platform around these topics, email firstname.lastname@example.org