Millions of women took to the streets to make their voices heard. Now what?
That’s what we’re talking about for today’s podcast. On Saturday, Jan. 21, millions of women, men and others marched the streets of cities in both the U.S. and abroad. Aside from the U.S. national march in Washington, D.C., 670 sister marches were held in more than 60 countries across the globe. These folks are marching to demand equal rights, rejecting the Trump administration’s agenda, and they are also marching to show solidarity with those most vulnerable among us. Today, we’re going to discuss: What’s next? What now? We’re also going to unpack what this means for the fight not just for unity, but for equity.
Joining me is Ebony Miranda, social media co-chair of the Womxn’s March right here in Seattle (the organizers added the “X” in “Womxn” to visually signify the inclusion of trans women). It may not be Washington, D.C., but the march here on Saturday actually attracted two-thirds of the city’s population. City officials have estimated somewhere between 100,000 to 170,000 participants.
Miranda, who identifies as non-binary and uses “they” pronouns, have been organizing in Seattle prior to the march. They discussed the criticisms of the march and why it’s important to look beyond unity to look critically at making the movement equitable and intersectional. Miranda and I touched on the idea that feminism should not just focus on issues that have been traditionally regarded as “women’s issues,” such as reproductive justice or equal pay, but also take into account the intersection of womanhood with race, class, religious identity, citizenship and physical/mental disability, among others.
That’s where intersectional feminism comes in, Miranda said. Historically, mainstream feminism has focused on issues that specifically affected white women. But for a lot of women who aren’t white, cis or middle class, they face additional issues besides equal pay: queer and trans women being kicked out of homes or fired because of who they are, black women facing police brutality or undocumented women fearing deportations. Intersectional feminism argues that the women’s rights movement should also work to advocate for the rights of these people and be in concert with these movements that, on the surface, may not seem like traditionally a “woman’s issue” but they do affect women.
“This is more than a protest against Trump because many of the issues at hand have existed before the election,” Miranda told Humanosphere at the Womxn’s March. “Marginalized communities were always fighting for rights and representation, this election just brought those issues to the forefront.”
The momentum has been gaining since the march, opening new and old rifts or discussions when it comes to the fight against equality. While having newcomers to a movement is exciting, marginalized women have been resisting. The question now becomes, how does the movement welcome folks who are new to it while making sure that it doesn’t fall into the same trap of “unity” without actually showing up for the people it supposedly are in solidarity with?
Before the chat, chief editor Tom Paulson and I talked about a slew of stories this week (it’s a newsy week!). Correspondent Lisa Nikolau reported on investing in Central America to deter immigration and Charlie Ensor explored how what happened in The Gambia is a big step for democracy in Africa (as opposed to the U.S. being downgraded to a ‘flawed democracy’). We also touched on the list of women’s stories this week, including my story on menstruation and its effect on girls’ education, the global implications of President Donald Trump’s Global Gag Rule and a different protest in India against mass molestations.