A crowd of people walk the streets of Washington D.C. to raise awareness of women’s rights and gender equality issues. Photo courtesy of Lydia Eifert / The Snapper
If you go back 108 years, 1302 months, or 39,655 days, you will land in the year 1913, the month of March, and the 3rd day. March 3rd, 1913. On that historic day, thousands of women gathered in our nation’s capital to march in the first national Women’s Suffrage Parade.
Five days. If you go back five days, you will land on the day October 2nd, 2021. On that day, thousands of women gathered in our nation’s capital to march in the annual Women’s March. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to walk, quite literally, in the footsteps of thousands, if not millions, of women before me.
Since the beginning of time, women have been second to men. Growing up as a woman, I have seen and experienced firsthand the injustices that women face every single day. Whether that be the gender pay gap or the constant control and violation of our bodies, women have had plenty of battles to fight.
In this world, where we have had to continue this fight for over 100 years, it is hard to have hope for a brighter future, for change. However, being in an environment where thousands of people feel the same desire for change that you do, being in an environment like the one at the Women’s March, can fill the hopeless with hope.
The day was a beautiful one, with temperatures in the mid-70s and not a cloud in the sky. Coincidentally, I had already been scheduled to travel to D.C. this past weekend, but as soon as I heard that the Women’s March was happening at the same time, the trip suddenly turned from one of sight-seeing to fighting for change.
On the morning of October 2nd, the rallies began with activists giving speeches to an energetic crowd. The main event, the march, began at 1:30 p.m.. As the time approached, I made my way over to the Freedom Plaza and was stunned to see the faces of thousands of women and men. I glanced around at the passionate, but peaceful, protestors and felt a sense of calm come over me. Was it really possible that this many people cared? At this moment, I had never felt more proud to be a part of something so great.
The march started at Freedom Plaza and ended at the Supreme Court. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere in D.C. on this day. To put it as simple as possible, I think it could be described as power. The sea of people that had willingly come out to walk for equality was not easy to miss. Surrounding you, there was a homemade sign that said something like“Our Future, Our Fight, Our Bodies” or a chant calling for justice, calling for it now. The energy in the crowd was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It felt safe.
In a time like this, it is important for women to join together, not only in an organized setting, like the Women’s March but also throughout daily life. Every single day, women’s rights continue to diminish. How is it fair that a man in Texas gets to tell a woman that she must have a baby no matter the circumstances, whether she knows she’s pregnant or not? How is it fair that a man like Brock Turner gets to walk free because the “damage is done,” but his rape victim must live with the pain he caused her every day? How is it fair that a woman gets paid less for doing the exact same work as her male colleague? How is it fair to tell a young girl to cover up because her body will distract boys?
The world we live in now cannot be the world we allow future generations to grow up in. We must hold those around us accountable in the face of injustice. We must fight for change not only on days like March 3rd and October 2nd but on every single day. We cannot allow ourselves to take one step forward and two steps back. Continue to fight for equality. Continue to preach “My body, My choice.” Continue to speak for those who have been silenced. Continue to be a fearless woman. Ladies, always remember, “Men of quality don’t fear equality.” Fight for justice, and fight for it now.