#WhyIMarch: People Explain Why They Are Attending The Women's March On Saturday

Take that, patriarchy 👊

19/01/2017 11:52 | Updated 20 January 2017

On Saturday, the day after the US President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people are taking part in a series of women’s marches across the world.

While the main march is taking place in Washington, there are some 600 taking place in an act of global solidarity around women’s rights. 

An estimated 200,000 people are expected to attend the main Washington Women’s March and a further 700,000 (and counting) are demonstrating around the world.

From first-time marchers to seasoned pros, we spoke to a range of women about their motivations to march.

Not in London? There are at least 14 marches taking place across the UK on Saturday. Find yours here.

Polly Neate, 50, chief executive of national domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid 

Womens Aid

“Violence against women and girls is rooted in misogyny – and domestic abuse is one of the most violent and life-threatening forms of this. We must challenge the misogynist culture which allows domestic abuse to be so appallingly commonplace, with an average of two women a week in England and Wales being killed by a partner or ex-partner.

“Misogynistic attitudes are becoming more and more accepted. In this climate, violence against women starts to seem inevitable. But it is not. We must stand up for equality, and men and women must fight misogyny together, to keep women safe and for a society built on trust and peace for everyone. I am proud to be marching and speaking at the Women’s March on London.

“It’s important to women the world over, because misogyny is deadly serious – literally. It is not excusable and it is not a joke, in a locker room or anywhere else.

“I’m really honoured to be asked to speak at this march and am walking alongside my two daughters, colleagues at Women’s Aid, and all the survivors of domestic abuse that I know will be there too.

“I hope that the march will help women everywhere have the confidence to challenge a culture and attitude that normalises violence against them.”

Isabel Adomakoh Young, 24, actor and writer

Aunt Cigar

“I’m marching because I want women, especially women of colour and who face intersections of other oppressions to know that I am with them. I’m marching for change across the world, including here in the UK. It may look as though compared to the US at the moment we have it pretty good, but atrocities like Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre (where innocent women are imprisoned while appealing for refugee status), the fact the UK is 48th in the world for gender representation in government, unbelievably low rape conviction rates and the vicious cuts to domestic violence services across the UK show that things are far from rosy.

“The idea that being on a different continent means female-identified people don’t face the same struggles, suffer under similar oppression in patriarchal culture, and have humanity in common, is not one I subscribe to. Not least because as the last few weeks has shown, everything Trump does makes ripples across the Western world (and perhaps soon, more than that across other parts of it).

“These marches are more than simply anti-Trump, they are anti what he represents; casual and physically violent misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism of the most insidious type, the victory of the loudest voice, and extreme greed at the expense of others...

“I’m most excited to see the young people marching, realising that the streets and the world are theirs to nurture; that they have a stake in it and it’s worth fighting for good, whatever their specific priorities may be. Equality would be better for everyone, it feels very far off right now, and that’s something worth taking to the streets about.”

Oli Fitzsimmons, 16, student

Oli Fitzsimmons

“A lot of people have wondered ‘well why are you marching? This isn’t America’.
I identify as non-binary and as queer people we face a lot of stigma and abuse every day, and I feel as if it is my duty to stand alongside my queer family all over the world.

“This sense of ‘other’ we experience as human beings, this sense of ‘separate’, affects us negatively each day, and is especially prominent in politics. Each of our lives overlap and intertwine in such a beautiful, and also complicated, way. 

“I am affected because I am queer. I am affected because a queerphobic, racist, misogynistic, ableist, xenophobia bigot with allegations of sexual assault against him, is now president of the United States. 

“From this march I want women, people of colour and queer people to be united...

“We will not be made to feel vulnerable or helpless any longer. This is the time to stand up and fight until you have nothing left to give. This is the time to put labels aside, created to separate and control us, and come together as strong individuals who can no longer stand by and watch the violence and the terror inflicted on us and our communities. This is the time to stop being apologetic, and confront the oppression happening right before us.”

Sophie Walker, 45, leader of the Women’s Equality Party 

WEP

“I am marching on Saturday to reject the rhetoric of racism, sexism and misogyny that Trump has normalised and which is gathering pace around the world. Britain’s referendum on its relationship with the rest of Europe has emboldened a similar right-wing populism that seeks to divide us here and cast minority groups as ‘other’. It’s a con trick. Trump and his ilk are not ‘men of the people’ but bully boys seeking to protect their own power above everyone else’s.
“I’m marching to reclaim my own power to make a change and to show that you don’t have to ask permission to be political. Women are not a minority group. We are half of the population. And we are also a richly diverse group - we are migrants and we are disabled and we are black and we identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community - and all of our voices must be heard if we are all to have equal rights. I am marching because I believe in the power of collective action - and because as the leader of the Women’s Equality Party I march every day for women to have equality.
“I would like to see this movement grow and occupy political space so that feminism grows as a political force and we make more space for women in the institutions and democratic spaces of this country so that we can have a say in the decisions that are made about our lives.”

Doniya Soni, 23, policy manager

Doniya Soni

“We’ve come so far with women’s rights in a short number of years, but there is still a long, long way to go. I’m afraid of the message that Trump’s presidency sends to women and women’s rights activists across the world - your rights are negotiable and can be taken away.

“The precedent he is setting - basically becoming one of the most powerful men on earth - after some of the things he’s said about women is frightening. These are all massive steps backwards and need to be protested. I want women in America to know that we are standing strong with them and will fight for women’s rights across the world. I also want Trump to know we can’t be silenced.

“It’s my first march and I’m heading there with my sister, my two best friends and my boyfriend.

“The change I would like to see would be gradual. I don’t have any faith in Trump and don’t believe he can change - but I’d like to see this march light a fire in women and step outside their comfort zones to speak up, maybe run for office, and overtime become a serious force to be reckoned with.”

 

Michaela-Clare Addison, 27, fashion designer 

Michaela-Clare Addison

“We cannot let the misogyny, sexism, and racism that Trump spouts be normalised. We cannot let children grown up in a world where the person in one of the most powerful position in the world talks with so much hate against women and minorities. We cannot sit back and not make our voices heard!

“I will march with the Women’s Equality Party and many friends who have the same values.

“I think this is important for all women, across the whole world to march and stand together. Changes that happen in America could soon happen here. Sexism, racism and fascism are all in the rise across the world. We need to march to prove we are not backing down from fighting for our rights.” 

 

Beth Gardner, 30, Women’s March London organiser, teacher

Beth Garner

“In 2016 there was an increase in hate speech and divisive rhetoric, Donald Trump’s election was a tipping point for me. Immediately after the result was announced, I looked for a way to get involved and push back against inequality and divisiveness.

“I am so glad that I have been able to help plan this march and will take the streets on the 21st to show the world that we are watching, and that we will unite together and stand up for groups who are being marginalised and threatened. We are all sending a bold message, one that is far too large and encompassing to be ignored.

“I have attended a few marches in the past, but nothing on this scale. I’m proud not only to march alongside thousands of people from a number of different groups, but alongside my husband and the planners who have supported me throughout this process.”  

Vinice Cowell, 30, social worker

Vinice Cowell
Vinice Cowell and her daughter

“I march for equality of all women around the world. I am fortunate to be in a position which means I can use what little voice I have to try and band together to make a difference for all women everywhere, as we will all will be affected by Trump’s presidency and the ripples his time in office will have.

“Trump’s openly misogynistic rhetoric is dangerous. His appointment has normalised the use of sexist language and acts of violence towards women. Having a man with twenty allegations of sexual assault against him leading the worlds biggest superpower gives legitimacy to his actions and liberation to those who wish to curtail and threaten women’s rights. This is not just a US issue but one that will hurt women all over the globe.

“I would like politics at all levels (local, national and global) to understand that women, their lives, experiences and voices matter. Women’s rights are human rights and you can not have successful prosperous communities, business or economies without us.

“We will not be silenced and we won’t stand still while our rights, safety and freedoms are slowly given away. This march is our chance to say en masse that enough is enough.”

Martha Watson Allpress, 23, studio assistant at an architecture firm

Martha Watson Allpress

“I’m marching because if you are silent then you’re part of the oppression that women, of every race and nationality, mutually endure. Trump affects the world I live in, and thus, I believe, does directly affect me. I cannot believe we still have to march and protest this stuff in 2017, but we do, so I am.

“It’s important to women in the UK because it’s not like women’s issues don’t exist here, if anything it’s becoming more apparent here. To me, situations such as Brexit, and the election of Trump, have given people with certain misogynistic, xenophobic, narrow minded views the validation to voice them. And also it’s important to women in the UK because we need to feel part of a universal solidarity. Solidarity empowers people.

“I’m marching with the Fawcett Society, of which I am a member, and this is my first march.

“If this march can open up one person to the conversation of gender equality, then that’s pretty awesome. Of course the real thing we want to change is the patriarchy smashed, but perhaps that’s dreaming big.”

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