In case you somehow missed it, the Women’s March on Washington is happening this Saturday, January 21st. I’ll give you some links and information below about the details, but I want to use this opportunity to tell you about a few of the reasons why I’m choosing to march.
I march because, “for a girl” should not be a qualifier to how well I do something. Don’t hold women to a lower standard or act surprised when we surpass it. A woman can do anything as well as she tries to accomplish it.
I march because I have the right to make any and all decisions concerning my body. Someone else’s faith should have no impact on a woman’s ability to choose for herself, nor her access to safe medical care.
I march because equal rights should mean equal pay and equal opportunity. It’s not enough to match our salaries if you don’t also match our opportunities to advance and be leaders.
I march because I abhor the double standards to which I am held. The virgin and the slut, the bitch and the angel, the housewife and the career woman; every set of archetypes are designed so that women never feel fully accomplished.
I march because I am the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and my family understands what it means to be excluded by our own countrymen and to be turned away by other nations that could have protected refugees, but chose not to. No one should ever be turned away for their faith, their ethnicity, their race, country of origin, or socioeconomic disadvantage; we all deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I march because I hope to give a voice to the many women who hold themselves back, consciously or unconsciously. Society has taught us to undermine ourselves and our successes at every turn, but we need to own our accomplishments and take credit where its due.
I march for the women who fear to speak out because of potential repercussions (loss of job, physical violence, etc.). No woman should feel afraid to ask for what she deserves or fear for her safety.
I march for the women who misunderstand what it means to be a feminist and don’t know yet how important it is for women to stand by one another, united in pursuit of equality. Feminism is not man hating or bra burning or a radical turn against traditionally feminine roles; its simply the opportunity to chose from the full range of lifestyles and to be valued for that choice, whatever it may be.
I march for the women who put the needs of others before themselves, who time and again wait their turn and receive no gains for their patience. Men have been taught to be aggressive, to seize the day and everything they want; women have been taught to help others along the way or to wait their turn. And when she doesn’t, people call her bossy. But women are entitled to seize their moment without criticism, to ascend the corporate ladder without fielding hits to their social capital along the way.
And I march for and with the women in circumstances even less egalitarian than my own. I know that as a middle class white woman, I hold a privileged position. Amongst my own gender, I am one of the least affected by instances of inequality and unfair practices. But women of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds, white and non-white, must have the same opportunities white men in this country receive by accident of birth. I understand how important it is to bring others up to the benefits of what white women like myself already have, but even that benchmark is not high enough.
We must move forward as allies, as an undivided 50% of the population, in order to achieve elevated and equal results for all. You can’t get there without listening and you can’t get there by exclusion; it takes the whole village.