The mission of a woman’s march is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. The nature of a women’s march is naturally progressive and supports liberal beliefs. The national Women’s March website outlines the organization’s core principles to be women’s freedom from violence, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, and environmental justice. These ideas tend to counter the opinions of President Donald Trump and many of his Republican supporters. After attending the Women’s March in downtown Houston, I noticed that the message endorsed by marchers and atmosphere amongst attendees was unquestionably anti-Trump. Amongst women crying for Trump’s impeachment, I couldn’t help but wonder whether there were ANY conservative women in the crowd, or does attending a women’s march require you to support liberal beliefs? Referencing the national Woman’s March mission statement, their marches are “committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.” The term “systems of oppression” can be interpreted in many ways, but it’s meaning makes all the difference. A liberal might equate Donald Trump’s presidency to a system of oppression, but a conservative would naturally counter that statement. Regardless of where you attend a Women’s March, there is continuity in the language and opinions of marchers. By extension, individuals are given the impression that to fight for women’s equality at a woman’s march, you have to be a liberal. Regardless of my own political opinions, I believe that a woman’s march should welcome ALL women. Since when does believing in women’s equality make you a liberal?
In 1913, women were fighting for women’s suffrage at the first women’s march on Washington. Now, in 2018, these marches have turned into a platform to support liberal beliefs which have no direct relation to the rights of women. However, that is not to say that a modern women’s march has been reduced to an anti-Trump protest. These marches are not centered on Trump himself, rather the rights which marchers believe he threatens. Still, the political climate of these marches has restricted those who can attend. A woman cannot simply march to celebrate the progress of gender equality and fight for continued reforms; a woman in attendance must align herself with liberal perspectives to garner “social change”. I cannot speak to whether this shift has more positive or negative implications. However, all women should be safe to attend these marches without having to question their stance on immigration rights or climate change. Not to say there is no place for these arguments, but do they belong at a march for women’s rights? The primary focus of a woman’s march should be to rally for the equality, safety, and respect of women alone.
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