2017 began with the inauguration of Donald Trump – a bigoted man who bragged about grabbing women. The news from the executive branch pretty much went downhill from there (shithole countries? REALLY??). The day after Trump’s inauguration, however, was full of optimism. Women from across the country showed up in Washington, DC to say “we’re here for each other”, “the fight isn’t over”, “have faith, we’re going to change the world.”
It was a good reminder that there are a lot of smart, capable women that are working hard for equality, compassion, and progress.
It was a great day:
This weekend, one year later, my friends and I walked over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, signs in hand, to the Lincoln Memorial, where we marched yet again. To be surrounded by so many strong women and so much positive energy was really invigorating. It was a good reminder that there are a lot of smart, capable women that are working hard for equality, compassion, and progress.
After I got home I was still excited, and I went online to look at pictures from the day. And I looked at Twitter. Yes, that was a mistake. There was so much vitriol stuffed into so few characters and the weight of those comments really brought me down. One question stuck out to me, however. It was along the lines of “why are women even marching, [insert one statistic here about how things are totally fine now now]”.
Why are we marching? Good question. I’m going to pretend that it wasn’t a rhetorical question that comes from a place of ignorance, and instead answer it as if it came from a place of genuine curiosity and a willingness to learn.
We’re marching because…
- On average, women are paid 80% of what men are paid for the same work. For women of color, the disparity is even worse. (source)
- 1 in 5 women in the US have been raped in their lifetime. (source)
- At least 1 in 4 women experience sexual harassment at work. Those numbers are probably much higher, since we only have data from those who have reported. (source)
- Why don’t more people speak up about harassment at work? Well, one study found that 75% of those who have reported workplace harassment experienced retaliation. (source)
- After car accidents, homicide is the second leading cause of injury-related death for pregnant women. (source)
- In the US, 26% of pregnant teenagers report being abused by their boyfriend, and half reported that the abuse started or got worse once they told their boyfriend they were pregnant. (source)
- The United States is the only industrialized country without paid maternity leave. (source)
- We have a president that brags about assaulting women by grabbing them by the genitals (source) AND — we live in a society where people think this isn’t a big deal and voted for him anyway. What does that say about how we value, or DON’T value women?
- We have a vice president that won’t have dinner with a woman that isn’t his wife. (source) So… women are a sexual threat to his marriage instead of colleagues. Doesn’t sound like women are going to get a fair chance to advance.
These issues affect our everyday life. They have an effect on the choices that young women make in school, at work, and in relationships. They alter every woman’s very existence in a fundamental way. That’s why we march.
On a lighter note – take a look at these awesome, funny, creative, and thought-provoking signs. Sometimes they were all of those at once!!