On January 20th, the day following the 2019 Women’s March, I sat scrolling through my Instagram feed seeing pictures of many of my classmates holding posters saying “Girls just wanna have funDAMENTAL human rights” and “The Future is Female.”
The more I looked, however, the posters became about something beyond promoting women’s rights. I came across one poster that really stuck out to me. It said “Capitalism hurts women. Fight for socialism.”
Even with the recent controversy plaguing the leaders of the Women’s March on Washington regarding anti semitism, I knew that the women’s march wasn’t just about women’s rights before this, but that poster made my head spin. Why should I march with people who think that my economic views inherently hurt women?
For many students at Presentation, the Women’s March is an integral part of the Presentation experience, but for some, it’s quite the opposite.
No matter what political views Pres students hold, virtually all can agree that the progression of human rights for women around the world is vital. There is no question that many women are denied the same rights and privileges as their male counterparts.
I uphold this truth always, but still I do not support the march that claims to be for all women. The truth is that not all women are welcome.
The “Women’s Agenda” on the Women’s March website excludes the beliefs of millions women. By identifying these beliefs as women’s beliefs, the organization is stereotyping women – having one view, one identity.
Viewing people, not just women, as individuals with different interests, passions, personalities, and strengths is the first step to equality. For an organization that claims to celebrate the diversity of women, there is hardly any substantive diversity.
The “Women’s Agenda” includes statements on policies such as “Universal Healthcare/Medicare for All,” “Immigrant Rights” and “Ending War.” Why are these policies specifically concerns of women?
The way the certain elements of the “Women’s Agenda” are presented on the website is misleading. “Immigrant Rights” is very vague, but if you find the full 71 page document laying out the full agenda, you’ll see that the march supports abolishing ICE and completely de-militarizing the borders of this nation. These are definitely not universal beliefs.
And what does the march mean by “Ending War?” Who knows? The word “war” is not written once in the 71 page document.
For me specifically, for example, the section about “Reproductive Rights, Health, and Justice” does not take my views into account which alienates me from participating in the march because I do not support abortion.
Some people may think that my opinions about abortion are harmful to women, but I can still support women’s rights without supporting abortion.
I have never been to the Women’s March, and I don’t intend to ever go. I am a woman, and I am for women, yet I have never felt welcome at the march that is promoted as a march for all women.
While most women at Presentation feel empowered by the march, I feel isolated by it, and, unfortunately, so many women across the country feel the same as me: they feel that they are not regarded as “real” women because of a set of beliefs and values they hold.
There is no such thing as a universal women’s agenda. Liberating women is not about promoting an agenda that all women “should” agree to, but it is about freeing women so that they can hold whatever opinions they choose.
This country is carefully designed to make it possible for people to express their thoughts and opinions. I don’t have a problem with people expressing their political and economic views and protesting for what they believe in, but I do have a problem with being honest about what you endorse.
If the Women’s March is for all women, an agenda endorsing policies that alienate millions of women should never have been written. We should celebrate the fact that women have the ability to think differently and live differently.