From the US embassy in London to Trafalgar Square, over 80,000 women marched as a statement on Saturday the 21st of January that women’s rights are human rights, and feminism is needed now more than ever.
The organisers were expecting a maximum of 25,000 people, but were surprised when more than triple the amount of people showed in Grosvenor Square, ready to take the 3 mile walk. Similar protests took place worldwide, for women to have their voices heard against the treatment of women worldwide, and the manner in which Donald Trump was elected president of the United States last year as its catalyst.
Despite his shortcomings in regards to his views on women himself, the election of Donald Trump set a whole new precedent: that being respectful towards women and their rights has taken a back seat in many people’s minds in the United States.
“Donald Trump triggered a protest in London?”
Yes, however what Donald Trump’s election mirrors is a similar mentality rife in the United Kingdom. What has happened is a ‘centre-ground’ capitulation to a ‘common sense’ that has a virulent resistance to ‘political-correctness’ – otherwise known as basic common decency. There hasn’t been enough opposition to this in the mainstream and thus it has grown spectacularly, especially in the West.
This mentality crosses all lines and isn’t focussed solely on gender, however what has happened now more so as of late, is that Feminism is not only seen as a dirty word, but is now viciously attacked relentlessly as “women asking for ‘special treatment rather than equality”. This backlash for women daring to strive for social equality instead of settling for a generalised equality under the rule of law crosses borders. Trump’s election represents that, and this march was about fighting it regardless of borders too.
“Women have the vote and have more of an important role in the workplace now, so what are they still complaining about?”. Things go a little deeper than that. Even today, statistically, women are at an institutional disadvantage to men. This is manifest in many different issues. One of the main issue being the wage/pay gap. This is certainly not a myth. There is a still a gap between men and women, even after you control for differences in occupation.
The biases that we are taught from birth are at fault here. We all feel pressure to fit in to certain roles, and this is where these biases come from. But, what ‘our liberation is intersectional’ means is that things aren’t so black-and-white. Ethnicity, class, gender is interlinked and corresponds to the different levels of privilege that we all experience in our lives. The liberation of one through the dismantling of these root causes is the liberation of another. There isn’t a zero-sum-game at play here. The liberation of one group does not take from another. “Special treatment” does not exist. In the majority of instances, what are even perceived to be men’s rights issues can be solved through the dismantling of the same root cause.
Regardless of people’s opinions on whether Hilary Clinton was either a flawed candidate (that she was part of an establishment consensus which has betrayed the ‘middle class’s’ trust – a popular opinion on the progressive left), or was basically crushed by a wave of misogyny during her presidential campaign – almost 100,000 people in London marched, unified against Trump’s vision of women (which is underlined not only by his previous conduct, but by his picks in his cabinet,) the inequality suffered worldwide, and for a progressive vision on women’s rights.