As I review the coverage of the 2018 Women’s March across our country, the world, and here in Traverse City, Michigan, I was struck by the consistency of the messages I saw raised on posters marchers carried that spoke to the outrage and anger at the policies of the present administration that have consistently attacked women’s right to contraception, equal pay for equal work, control over our bodies, violence directed at women, the right to vote, and especially the sexism, misogyny, and bigotry supported covertly and overtly by the people in power at this moment in our nation’s history.
What we are seeing today is a deliberate political strategy being employed by the powers that be, predominantly white males of a certain age, that is designed to roll back the hard-won protections fought for by women in the sixties and seventies, the women of my generation, that younger women now take for granted, but who are in fact, in danger of losing. That is why we march. It has become apparent that resting on our laurels so to speak, is never going to be an option. For reasons that escape me, the forces that stand in opposition to equal rights for women, which are often bonded with opposition to civil rights in general, have once again raised their ugly heads, encouraged and inflamed by a man elected to the highest office in the land, who astonishingly, many women supported.
In my day, women woke to the insidious and pervasive ingrained sexual bias in our patriarchal culture by attending consciousness raising seminars that seem to be, once again, necessary in order to preserve and advance the cause of women everywhere, not just American women, but women around the world who are stuck in cultures and political systems designed to keep women subservient, uneducated, hidden under the burdens of unalleviated child birth and manual labor without any financial remuneration at all, all of which is exacerbated if a woman’s skin is brown or black or red or yellow in our own society.
That is why we march. To raise awareness of the proud history of female rebellion and willingness to enact change from the first Women’s Conference organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19, 1848, to the Suffragettes who marched to gain the right for women to vote, to the Women’s March here in Traverse City on January 20th, to impress upon the younger generation of women and men, our grandchildren and great grandchildren that they must pick up the torch and carry on.
Freedoms are not ever entirely won, they are only advanced slowly over time with the persistence of women and men everywhere, across time, races, culture and sexual identity to insist, preserve and cultivate the freedoms laid out by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence hundreds of years ago. That is why we march.