2.5 Million Unite in Women’s March

Mariah Wise

On Saturday, January 21 of this brand new year, millions of people united to march in Washington D.C. for women’s rights. While this March on Washington seems to have arisen from the inauguration of the now President of the United States, Donald Trump, women’s rights movements happened all over the world on Saturday, not just in the U.S. The fight for women’s rights began in the early 1900’s, and continues still today.

The first march for women’s rights, called the Women’s Suffragists Parade, was in 1913 and took place on the same streets we walk on in D.C. today. Since then, women have made leaps and bounds in their fight for rights. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote and in 1923 the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced. In 1963, The Equal Pay Act was passed by Congress. In 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed, forbidding sex discrimination in the workplace. In 1965, married couples were allowed to use contraception. In 1972, Title XI prohibits sex discrimination in any federally funded education system and unmarried couples can now use birth control. In 1973, Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, in 1986 work environments could now be deemed hostile or abusive based on sex discrimination or abuse, and in 1994, The Violence Against Women Act funded services for victims of rape and domestic violence. In 2000, victims of rape and DV can now sue their attackers in federal court and in 2009, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act passes, allowing victims of pay discrimination to file a complaint with the government (within 180 days of their last paycheck).

Many people may look at the list above and say that the Women’s March of 2017 was unnecessary, because women in the U.S. have already made all these great strides. The problem is not that these strides have been made, or that they have taken longer than they should have to be made, but that today, in 2017, we still have women around the world and in the U.S. who are victims of rape, domestic violence, and pay inequality, we still have women who are suppressed by others in their life based on their choices and/or beliefs, and we have women who are not allowed to own property, vote, or even stand up for themselves in those situations.

People can also argue that this does not have to be taken care of through protest, it is true, it does not. But in a country where it takes almost two centuries for women to have the right to choose whether or not they want to get pregnant, and over a century to even have the right to have an opinion on that matter, a matter that effects simply their body, not their husbands, or anyone else’s, what else is there left to do?

In 1913, women were fighting for the right to vote. In 2017 the hottest topics were Donald Trump and abortion. However, this protest was not just about the POTUS, it was not just about whether or not you agree with abortion, it was about the fact that it takes ten different attempts to make the workplace an equal, safe playing field, to give women the right to better and/or affordable healthcare (whatever their views and choices are), to help slow down the rate of rape and domestic violence against women, and give women the right to their own body.

Make 2017 a better year for all, and support women’s rights whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Christian, Catholic, Jewish, a college dropout or a straight A-student, male or female or none of the above. Support women’s rights based on the reasoning of women like Malala Yousafzai: “So that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”