Thousands have taken part in women’s marches across the US on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration, in a bid to generate more female candidates running for office as well as to protest against the US president’s policies.
Under the name Power to the Polls, the rallies on Saturday were hailed as the beginning of a new era in female political activism, with organisers hoping to encourage more women to get involved in politics at the local and national level. More marches worldwide are planned for Sunday.
“What you’re seeing one year into the Trump presidency is a growing sense that women don’t have a seat at the table,” Rosiland Jordan, reporting from a march in Washington, DC, said.
“The goal for many of these protesters today is to get women, particularly women of colour, involved in politics. That does not mean just register to vote, but also be active in politics, so running for school board or even US Congress,” she added.
“The idea [behind the organisers’ action] is that it is not enough for people to show they are angry or frustrated with the Trump administration’s policies. The only way they are going to see the policies that reflect their desires is for them to get involved in the politically process itself,” said Jordan.
Thousands of people also attended marches in Cleveland; Richmond, Virginia; Philadelphia; New York; Austin, Texas; and elsewhere.
The rallies took place exactly one year after Trump took office, and one day before the anniversary of the Women’s March, a large-scale protest around the world for human rights.
Those rallies were a response to statements Trump had made before his inauguration which the protesters regarded as being against women’s rights, discriminatory and offensive.
Jordan said turnout at Saturday’s protests was a lot lower compared with last year, when millions of people had rallied in cities around the US.
“I’m here because I’m raising two boys and I want them to be feminists and I want them to understand that this is important and it’s worth standing up and speaking when it’s right”, a protester told reporter.
Participants did not just focus on women’s participation in politics, but also focused on issues such as sexual harassment, gender pay gap and lack of access to healthcare.
“All of these problems, including even bigger issues like environmental issues, racism, sexism, religious bigotry – all these issues have been talked about during today’s rallies,” said Jordan.
Saturday’s protests also coincided with the day the US government went into a shutdown after members of Congress failed to reach an agreement on the divisive issue of immigration and government spending.
During 2017, women’s rights became one of the most talked-about social issues globally
The global #MeToo movement has been used by millions of women worldwide to highlight and protest against endemic sexual harassment.
It was triggered by the scandal involving Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood producer accused of rape, sexual harassment and assault by more than two dozen women, including actresses.
In a response to those allegations, many other women came forward to talk about their experiences with abuse.