Grab your sashes and top hats! The Women’s March on Washington is set to take off this Saturday in the heart of DC; with sister marches occurring in select cities. There has been much anticipation for the arrival of this event, as it is expected to be the largest gathering focused on women’s issues since the Suffrage Movement of 1920. The movement originally began after the presidential election of “grab em’ by the p*ssy” Donald Trump and will take place the day following his inauguration. But what started as a Facebook event page has now gained national attention, as this will be the first major form of protest after Trump’s transition into power. With crowds expected to be larger than Trump’s inauguration, the world will be watching.
The march was originated out of the fear that the Republican Party, who now controls all three branches of government, will strip away women’s rights and choices. These include Roe vs. Wade, access to affordable birth control and healthcare, and sexual assault prevention. The movement will be sponsored by various organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, NAACP, and Move On.
Women’s issues became a large topic during the presidential election. And while Trump’s “Make America Great Again” plans primarily focused on infrastructure, immigration, and trade agreements, the Republican Party supporting the new president has received harsh criticism for their beliefs on women’s issues. As he has mentioned various times in his speeches on the campaign trail, Donald Trump plans to defund Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe vs. Wade with his Supreme Court Justice pick. Trump describes the controversial law as a doctor’s permit to "rip the baby out of the womb" with only a few days left until birth.
The Trump team has also been under fire in regards to sexual assault prevention since the infamous “Trump Tapes” were leaked by Access Hollywood. Betsy DeVos, Trumps pick for education secretary, recently stated while being interviewed by the Senate that she "could not commit to the Obama administration’s guidance that schools who do not investigate sexual assault claims will be in violation of Title IX and can lose federal funding."
With the new regime in place, many feel uncomfortable and uncertain as to how Donald Trump will handle such important issues. If Trump is to follow through with his comments on defunding Planned Parenthood, millions of women will not be able to gain access to affordable forms of birth control and other reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood has also been responsible for providing sex education in middle schools and high schools in across the country. Without proper education in the consequences of having unprotected sex, millions of young adults will become at risk for teen pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
While Roe vs. Wade, and the overall issue of abortion, is determined by the state many conservative states, such as Texas, have implemented laws causing the closure of abortion clinics. Texas lawmakers recently overturned a state law that denied abortion clinics to meet the surgical standards of other medical facilities and denied doctors to have admission privileges at nearby hospitals. This leaves only a few clinics available in the large state, making it difficult or impossible for women to receive the procedure. A federal ban on abortions might cause desperate women to go to extreme measures in order to avoid having their unwanted child; putting both the mother and fetus at risk. As for DeVos, critics argue that her lack of a plan when it comes to preventing sexual assault on college campuses is putting millions of other women at risk. Studies show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while attending college. However, 90% of these attacks are unreported. Universities have become more aware of these statistics and are required to collect and report any cases of sexual assault on their campus. However, if there is a lack of punishment for individual colleges who do not take the safety of their students as a priority; more colleges are less likely to report sexual assault cases in order to maintain their image.
The Women’s March on Washington is important because it brings awareness of important issues that directly affect half of our country’s population. Rather than being viewed as an anti-Trump rally, the Women’s March will show our new leaders in Washington what values and problems Americans are focused on. If all goes well, hopefully, Trump and his new cabinet will listen to the voices of the American people.
If you are interested in taking part in the Women's March in Washington, a link to the official website will be provided here. And if you can't make it out to DC here is another link to the list of sister marches that will occur the same day in most major cities. And if you still want to show your support without all of the extra cardio, you can share the movement through social media by using the hashtags #WomensMarch, #WhyIMarch, and #IMarchFor. And of course be sure to check out the movements Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where there will be live coverage and videos from celebrity supporters including Scarlett Johansson, Julianna Moore, Amy Schumer, and much more.