Marching As One: People Around the World on Why They Joined the Women’s March
Over a million people in the US participated in the Women's March, but they weren't alone. People from protests in six different countries tell us why they're also taking a stand against Trump.
Photo by Bekky Lonsdale
Over one million people marched on Saturday in the US to stand up for women's rights and gender equality, making the Women's March the largest inaugural protest in American history. (And, whatever Donald Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway claims, those are accurate facts—not the "alternative facts" preferred by the president's political team.)
The protest may have been originally planned for Washington DC, but there were sister marches in almost every timezone you could think of. Seventy-five countries around the world staged demonstrations in solidarity, making it a 24-hour day of protest. In London alone, a crowd of 100,000 marched through the city, shutting down traffic in the center of the capital. USA Today estimated that over 2.5 million people participated worldwide, though organizers say that there was a total global turnout of 4.6 million.
"Today, millions of people gathered in cities and towns across the world, to stand together for human rights," the Women's March said on Twitter. "This is more than just a single day of action, this is the beginning of a movement to protect, defend and advance human rights, even in the face of adversity."
With the help of contributors all over the world, we went to marches in six different countries to meet the people who came out to support their sisters in America.
Christine (left), 36, from Irvine, US
I'm not okay with Trump's stance on disability rights and the cuts that he's going to make. And now that I'm pregnant, I'm really mad because I've been relying on Obamacare and [I know] a lot of friends that rely on it too. Now that it's potentially gone very quickly, it's a very scary time.
Birgit, 58, from Berlin, Germany
To women: You're not alone and it's not just a problem of the States. I'm working and marching for women's rights for 40 years, and we don't allow him or anybody else to step [our rights] back. We've come so far and we want to go more forward. Sexism is still alive, even without Donald Trump. He just makes it okay.
Abeni, from Santa Ana, US
I live here. I work in a predominantly white male job situation as a physicist. And I want to say the women in America: You can do it. We just have to be together and we have to support each other and this march shows that they have support from all corners of the world. Most Germans hate Trump—a lot—and they will tell me as soon as they find out I'm American. We will break the glass ceiling. It's already cracked a lot. From Hilary. From Michele. And from everyone before us. This is just a small setback...and we will tackle it.
Firna, 22, from Indonesia
It's a real difficult time. I think it's important we stick together. Unity despite our differences is really important. We all over the world are with [American women]. They're in the front line against this fight against hate and against the narrative of Trump. We are behind them in this fight.
Belle, 39, with her daughters Misha and Elsie, from Sydney, Australia
Giving birth and becoming a mother really opened my eyes in a new way to the critical importance of women's rights. To me, human rights and environmental issues are interwoven. Standing together is ultimately making a statement about the kind of world we want to create—and as a mother of girls, it is about raising wild, strong, passionate women ready to share their voices and visions.
Latch, 35, from Brisbane, Australia
We've got to chip away at the block, it's not going to be an overnight thing—domestic violence isn't going to stop, and all those things won't stop instantly, every little thing we can do on a global scale helps, anything is better than sitting at home watching telly thinking how you wish you'd gone. Women of America, stay strong! Don't worry about the election results and everything that's happened, we're more powerful than we know.
Paige, from Santa Monica, US
One side of my sign says "Pussy grabs back" and the other side says "Resist." And that kind of says everything. I think we just need to stand up and do something, even the little things. I even get on Skype and call senators in the US now, it's really easy to do, and a lot easier than you think it is [...] The people have been asleep—and Australians have been asleep—and it's time for us to wake up and do something. We can absolutely make a difference, there are two sides to every coin—you can see already what's happening in the US with Donald Trump and the protests and everything. Stand together and resist and love each other.
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Linda, 21, from Breda, the Netherlands
I'm a youth advocate at CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, an organization that fights for youth and sexual health rights everywhere in the world. But the main reason I'm here is because the world is becoming more and more racist. Another reason is because of the fact that I'm a black woman and I'm a Muslim. I'm here to march for all minorities, because everyone deserves to get respect. I hope that because of this worldwide march, we'll be heard and that every minority gets the respect they deserve. And yes, there are people like Trump and [far right Dutch politician Geert] Wilders where we should definitely worry about, but I also hope that we won't forget that everyone has the right to be who they want to be. We're not the same, but we're one.
Mees and Paloma, 16, from Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Mees: I really hope that in the future the world will become a loving place where my kids can grow up in peace without me being afraid that something will go wrong. And hopefully people will start to love each other again and instead of hate, we'll spread love to every living creature on earth. People should realize that it's not going very well with this planet and we really have to do something about it.
Paloma: I agree. I'm the kind of person who goes to demonstrations because I want my voice to be heard. Especially in this world, where governments have all the power; I want that to change. People need to think about what's happening in this world and then they can use their voice to make a change. That's why I march.
Nina, 26, from Amsterdam, the Netherlands
In 2016 I felt a lot of polarization and negativity between people. That's something I don't want for this world, so here I am, with my positive sign and my positive vibe. [My greatest fear is] that because of all the hate in the world, the connection between people will disappear and that they're being set up against each other. And that there will be no understanding anymore.
Mary (left), from Toronto, Canada
I think it's important that we as women [are] all here today. We're [here] to fight against Trump and people who behave like Trump—people who don't want to respect women in any way shape or form. I am also drumming today and my group participates in anything that has to do with social justice. I'm here to support to Black Lives Matter [too]. Black lives matter, always. We're standing against all forms of oppression.
Zack from Toronto, Canada
I'm here because I think it's important to communicate at the very least to Trudeau that we should stand up to whatever comes out of the States. I'm here for so many causes; nothing is specific. I'm worried about [conservative Canadian politicians Kelly Leitch and Kevin O'Leary] but I'm hoping that the mechanics of our voting doesn't expose us in the same Americans have been.
Kate (right), from Guelph, Canada
I think there's been a lot of apathy. I think everyone's just amazed at what happened in the US and amazed at the sort of backlash and racism and all of the misogyny we thought didn't exist but actually does. We're here to stand up, and I brought my family as well. I want to show my sons there can be a much better world. I'm here for equality, love and for people to be peaceful and kind. This [inequality] is happening everywhere, and I think the whole Trump election brought it more to light. This is my first march and I felt the responsibility to do it.
Grrrl Justice Toronto, from Toronto, Canada
It's really important for us in Canada to be recognizing [that] the issues being brought up in Washington today aren't new issues. These social injustices has been going on for hundreds of years. As Grrrrl Justice we're here to talk about ongoing racism, sexism, colonialism, ableism—all these systems of oppression that are interconnected and that impact the lives of women. The type of rhetoric we're hearing in the States isn't unique to them; we hear racism, sexism and all these forms of oppression happening in Canada in different ways. We just had our prime minister sign a bunch of pipeline deals against Indigenous consent, so these same issues are happening here every day.
Shaina, 29, from New York, US
I'm here because I'm a feminist, an anarchist, and an anti-racist. And because I want to make feminist people like me reflect on how we can live in a much better world, a world that's safe and equal for all of us. Donald Trump is a racist and a misogynist, but we need to know that the things he says are not something new. He's a part of the system. Although he is quite vocal about it, we need to remember that these problems have always existed. That's why this will not stop here. The fight will go on.
Mimi, 20, from California, US
I march for all the women who have been sexually assaulted, who have been humiliated or denigrated at some point. For all the women who strongly deserve recognition today. I also expect to be powerful and empowered to do the same things that men do someday. Donald Trump is a completely disrespectful man. I want to come back to the US to fight with all the women and all the minorities. I don't wanna run away or leave forever. I have to fight for women's rights.
If we want to be successful, we must get together and fight for the rights of all women, together with men. Patriarchy is bad for everyone. And we must also support other movements, such as Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQ rights, and fight ableism. Equality is about inclusiveness, and the belief systems that oppress one group use the same mechanisms to oppress others. We cannot achieve true equality until we begin to seriously take into account the different people that make up our society. This starts with visibility.
Chrystal, 21, from Washington DC, US
[My message to America is] to live above the pettiness, I guess. It's so easy to give in to hate but you know, always remember that there are good people out there, and that at the core of everything I think naturally people are born good. Shit happens to turn them evil.
John, 80, from London, UK
My mother was born in 1896—she worked all her life, working for other people or looking after children. She wasn't a happy person; she was unhappily married. I look around at my sisters now and I think, in a sense, they've got more rights. But there's a long way to go. There's the obvious question of women and pay [and] we are way behind... There's obviously a big discrepancy. I mean, look around you, look at your own family: Who does all the unpaid work of looking after the children; cleaning the house? Who is expected to supply the emotional support? Who bears that burden?
Anabel, 25, from Bristol, UK
We're going to leave the European Union and it just feels like this is just one more chance that we can voice our concerns about the way we're heading in the world at the minute. So I'm here, I've got an American friend here, and we're showing that we support people in America and that we will be behind them. I think [British PM Theresa] May is going to leave [the EU] and she is going to want a special relationship with Trump. So [we're] here to say, "May, look—we're not going to back down, we're not going to let this go lightly."
I believe in democracy—even though it's been a really shit result, I think you can't just stand by and watch something like this happen. [Donald Trump's election is] just really sad. It's awful and tragic; it's kind of just watching a country self destruct—they need some support.
We had to carry the vagina [sign in the background] down [main shopping district] Oxford Street and we actually got a really positive reaction, we only got two people that were saying, "That's so inappropriate" or like, "fuck off," but, you know, bye!
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