The 2017 women’s marches were a worldwide political spectacle, in which more than 2.5 million people across 168 countries participated in. Whilst the marches were originally organized to publicly voice opposition to the #Trump election, the marches’ purpose morphed and became broader. They called for the safeguarding of not only women’s rights, but the liberties of ethnic and religious minorities as well as extensive environmental protection against corporate profligacy. They also demonstrated against health care reforms that threaten to defund important reproductivehealthcare organisations such as Planned Parenthood. Civil liberties, gender equality, national security, health and multicultural diversity are all perceived to be in jeopardy because of the Trump election, which aptly explains the intense anti-trump sentiment in the Women’s Marches across the world.
These protests are the largest political demonstrations in the United States since the Vietnam War and rightly so. The marches were not solely driven by the lewd remarks made by the new President of the #UnitedStates, rather by the comprehensive degeneration of women’s rights across the globe, undoing most of the progress made in the 20th century. This deterioration, is lead by both authoritarian regimes and democracies alike. Over 10,000 women in #Putin’s Russia die from injuries caused by domestic violence, perplexingly, the Russian parliament is coming close to passing a new law that would decriminalise domestic abuse, under the pretence of preservation of the traditional family. Meanwhile, the rise of #Islamic State in the Middle East has coincided with a large increase in women’s rights violations. The new laws created by IS allow women to be married from the age of nine and dictate that women should remain hidden from society. #Bangladesh, a seemingly democratic nation, has consolidated these destructive views. The Bangladeshi parliament will consider passing a law that sanctions child marriages in special cases, if parental or judicial consent is obtained. Female genital mutilation remains a genuine concern across numerous developing countries as well.
These set of women’s marches can only be the beginning of a much wider movement if real change is to be made to the current state of global women’s rights. The goal of the march was to inspire people to participate, and spread awareness of important issues. These have been met. But mere protesting has never affected change, much like the civil rights movement of the 1960s, educational organisations, ideological movements and strong lobby groups need to be set up to shift public opinion, hold dubious legislation under scrutiny and ultimately improve the quality of life of females across the world.