Women in 2018 are marching for women. They are marching for the LGBT community. They are marching for social injustice and people with disability. They are marching for people of color. They are marching for control over their bodies and their decisions. They are marching for Planned Parenthood. They are marching to move forwards not backwards. And their march is not going unnoticed: it is sparking political action in the US.
More than a thousand women signed up to Emily’s List to receive training on how to run for office positions. The list itself has now endorsed a big number of female congressional candidates. Emily’s List consists of passionate people whose goal is to inspire and train women, members of the LGBT community and POC to run for electoral positions.
‘’We recruit the strongest candidates, support campaigns that can win, study the electorate, and turn out the vote.’’ Emily’s List, 2017
The march has brought light to an organization and a fundamental system that encourages women to be proactive, take political action and feel supported throughout their difficult campaign journey. If that is not action for change, then what is?
And this action did not just remain as a theoretical scenario. Women’s and minority groups’ presence, in the US political scene, did increase dramatically: With over 900 election victories, including the Virginia House of Delegates electing its first female Asian-American, Latina and openly transgender delegates, in light of the march. It’s also worth mentioning Teresa Fedor, from the Ohio House Of Representatives, who was motivated to work on a bill for the protection of victims reporting sexual harassment.
‘’Since our founding, we have helped elect over 100 pro-choice Democratic women to the House, 23 to the Senate, 12 to governors’ seats, and hundreds of women to state and local office. EMILY’s List has also become one of the largest financial resources for minority women seeking federal office.’’ Emily’s List, 2017
Apart from the march’s effect on the political realm, it has sparked other positive action. It’s important to note the movement’s work alongside groups such as Black Lives Matter and Color of Change, that ignited other marches, to raise awareness of racial equality and white supremacy, like the 10 days long ‘’March to confront White Supremacy’’ – A march that speaks up about justice and equality of POC, and confronts incidents, such as the racial violence one in Charlottesville. Organized by Women’s March and Black Lives Matter, the movement was a reaction to the atrocities of violence and hate from white supremacy protesters on Charlottesville, who turned violent towards a group of white, as well as students of color.
“[We’re here] to be intentional about inclusivity, not only when it comes to issues, but to make sure women of color are at the forefront.” Carmen Perez, Women’s March On Washington co-chair
In essence, Women’s March is here to raise awareness: It speaks awareness towards affordable reproductive health care, paid family leave, speaks against discrimination of all kinds, supports immigrant’s rights, worker’s, civil and disability rights. Most importantly it is here to remind women in the US, that they should, and can take part in the political scene. As a woman living in the US, it is easy to feel intimidated into getting evolved in such a male dominated field (in 2016, women held just 23% of government offices). The feeling of under-representation can be a significant motivator, but there is a need for support to spark actual action. It is particularly harder in the US, as the country is governed by a man with clear misogynistic tendencies.
The march has helped women realize that we make the difference, instead of waiting for the difference to come. The movement proves to us, that when people think alike, come together for a great cause and, voice their biggest fears and worries, a revolution can begin. A revolution in the means of social change and movement towards a better future. An actualization of dreams and the defeat of unfairness. And in the end, we see that politics of fear only bring us closer and we come out stronger than before.
Written by Elpida Komianou