Why We Need The Women's March On Washington

Why We Need The Women's March On Washington

Someone wake up Susan B Anthony.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: The New Yorker

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Everybody Has Room To Grow In Being Loving And Kind

Is anyone wholly kind? Is anyone wholly loving?
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Everybody loves kindness. Everybody loves love.

But is anyone wholly kind? Is anyone wholly loving?

A deficit I see (and experience myself, seeing that I am an imperfect human) very prominently in our world, as I know it, is of a gaping lack of authentic, non-transactional kindness and love.

I’d like to preface this by once again highlighting that I do not consider myself outside of this deficit. My love and kindness are impoverished, surely not what love and kindness could truly be. I feel that I can speak on this because I am part of it.

Do we fight for social justice? Do we advocate for human rights? Do we believe in universal human dignity and the protection of it?

Do we also treat each human being we encounter with the same ferocious, passionate care we claim for humanity?

Do we insult people behind their backs? Do we fail to be intentional and genuine with everyone? Do we fail to make certain people feel cared for by our disengaged, disenchanted demeanor?

The answer, by the way, is yes. If you’re human, yes. Our love and kindness are not what they proclaim to be. My love and kindness are not what they proclaim to be.

I can admit this without shame because I know my worth. I know that my flaws and weaknesses have no effect on my value as a human being. And yet, I also know it’s important to admit these truths, and to acknowledge what they mean.

There is no such thing as loving “enough.” There is no such thing as being kind “enough.” The world is shattered. We are a broken, imperfect people. There will never be a day where we will be able to claim that we were perfectly kind, or that we loved perfectly.

What shall we say then? Shall we go on hopelessly, or apathetically, since imperfection is inevitable? By no means!

Acknowledging that our love and kindness needs growth creates room for that growth. It’s not self-deprecating to accept imperfection. Imperfection is a fact— but it shouldn’t lead to shame. Shame is a lie. Shame would claim that we need to be perfect to be priceless. Shame is dehumanizing and devaluing. We were not created to feel shame.

But we were indeed created to grow.

Love needs us to be open to growing in it. Love needs space to expand into. Love requires true intentionality. Love requires genuine relationship.

Love requires our acknowledgment that we can work on it.

How are we going to go about doing that? I might try setting my pride aside, so that I never treat anyone in my heart as if they’re a means to an end, or consider someone unworthy of my care. I might try to look people in the eye a little more. I might try being less quick to jump to annoyance or frustration. I might attempt to put away a bit of my judgment.

I might hold my tongue if my thoughts are about to release something dark and negative into the Universe. I might say sorry when I hurt someone, even if I think I’m right, because their perspective matters. I might listen to others’ thoughts and feelings, even if they differ from my own experience. I might have more intentional conversations.

I might be honest, even when it hurts. I might take a deep breath and work through an argument thoughtfully, instead of remaining closed minded. I might take a little more time to make sure others feel cared for.

I might allow room for myself to grow in love, something humanity can never get enough of.

How are you going to grow in your love?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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