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Women's March 2019 Walks Through Intersectionality

Author: Karuna Savoie and Sam Seliger

The fourth annual Women’s March took place in cities across the U.S. on Jan. 18, 2020, with the largest in Washington, D.C. The initial march took place in 2017, one day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in opposition to his presidency over his disrespectful statements toward women. Despite struggles to maintain its initial large audience, and controversy surrounding its central leadership and inclusivity, the movement has persevered and rebranded this year, with a new focus on intersectionality.

In 2020, the Women’s March centered around principles of womens’ unity and protection of reproductive rights, civil rights for marginalized groups and violence against women.

The 2020 marches saw rejuvenated support; some cities drew upwards of 10,000 people. Many were holding signs, wearing pink clothing and sporting “#MeToo” pins.

Women at the D.C. march cited a variety of issues as their top priority, but many reiterated the importance of unity, and using the strength of the large group to amplify their voices.

“The main message I want to convey is that women are the majority voting block, and we show up in power like a union, in numbers. So if we’re not out here together, then they can see the division, the divide. But if we’re together, then our issues become their issues,” Mary Jo, from Raleigh, NC, said. For her, the most important issue is “equal pay.” “Until that happens, [women] won’t have equality in the conversation,” she explained.

Jenna came from Philadelphia “to show my daughter the importance of a women’s movement.”She cited several top political issues of the intersectional movement, including “environmental issues, social policies [and] women’s rights.”

Some women stressed the importance of advocating for women, both the ones who were present at the march, and the ones who were not. “I’m marching for all women, for everybody,” explained Molly from New Hampshire. “I think that especially with our current government … it’s our responsibility to fight for the rights of everybody, especially now more than ever.”

Molly said that her primary political issue is “human rights for everybody, especially women.”

For her, that includes prioritizing reproductive rights as a part of women’s autonomy. “I am a woman, and regarding abortion, nobody has the right to tell you what you can or can’t do with your body. It’s your body, it’s your choice. I think that’s such a prevalent issue and nobody has the right to tell you what you can or cannot do,” she elaborated.

Other protesters had more general goals, focusing on what they feel to be erosions of fundamental values under the Trump administration.

Lin, from Portsmouth, OH, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, because “Lady Liberty is taking a beating under this presidency.” For her, “Climate change is the number one thing because it’s an existential threat.” She also cited immigration and healthcare as important issues.

The intersectionality of sexism, racism, homophobia and is becoming a point in many rallies. They are considered as part of a singular complex issue.

#Women'sMarch #KarunaSavoie #SamSeliger #Intersectionality #MeToo

Photos courtesy of Karuna Savoie/PTF

Flourish graphic courtesy of Bella Ramirez/PTF