The day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, hundreds of thousands of women (and men) gathered throughout the world in support of women's rights. Though not technically an anti-Trump protest, tensions were high because of his anti-women and offensive statements, which likely fueled a significant portion of the fire for the protest.
The organizers and protesters wanted the new presidential administration to know on their first day in office that women's rights are human rights.
The goal of the protest was not just to protest for women's rights, but also to advocate legislation and policies regarding all human rights, fighting for issues such as immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the environment, LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, workers rights and freedom of religion.
This became the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. The main protest took place in Washington D.C., drawing nearly 500,000 people. Other protests took place throughout the United states, bringing between 3 and 5 million people (approximately 1-1.6% of the entire U.S. population) together for the cause. Worldwide, over 7 million people joined.
There were 408 marches planned in the U.S and 168 planed in 81 other countries. Counting all of the marches, both planned and unplanned, there were 673 total protests and at least one took place on each of the 7 continents. The protests were peaceful, and no arrests were made.
THE BACKGROUND AND THE TEAM
On November 9th, 2016, after Trump was elected president, a woman named Teresa Shook from Hawaii created a Facebook invite, inviting her friends to march on Washington after his inauguration.
Similar Facebook events began popping up from various people, and eventually, they were all congealed into one official march page, the Women's March on Washington.
People of all different backgrounds were brought on to make it happen. Some of the main players in the marches were:
Vanessa Wruble: Co-founder and head of campaign operations
Tamika D. Mallory: Co-chair; Political organizer and former executive director of the National Action Network
Carmen Perez: Co-chair; Executive director of the political action group The Gathering for Justice
Linda Sarsour: Co-chair; Executive director of the Arab American association of NY
Bob Bland: Co-chair; Fashion designer with a focus on ethical manufacturing
Additionally, 7 women coordinated marches outside of the U.S. Beyond the involvement at the individual level, over 400 organizations, Planned Parenthood and the Natural Resources Defense Counsel among them, offered their support.
By January 20th, 2017, 1 day before the march, 222,000 people had RSVP'd and nearly 251,000 more people had marked themselves as interested.
The Washington D.C. metro had its second busiest day ever, with over a million trips, second only to the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Celebrities were everywhere at the events. The main speakers included America Fererra, Scarlett Johansson and Gloria Steinem. However, though they were the only ones who were scheduled to speak, many others gave speeches throughout the day.
In D.C., other celebrity attendees included Christina Aguilera, Brie Larson, Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Paul Rudd, Julia Roberts, Amy Poehler, Luipta Nyong'o and many, many more. In NYC, among many others, Drew Barrymore, Mark Ruffalo, Rihanna, Blake Lively and Robert De Niro attended. Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Ke$ha, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laverne Cox, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Helen Hunt and more made appearances at the LA march, and Park City Utah saw the likes of Kevin Bacon, Laura Dern, John Legend, Nick Offerman, Charlize Threron and more.
There was an outpouring of support throughout the world. Those who couldn't make it tweeted their support, donated money and followed the march as it happened on social media. Some who couldn't make it contributed by creating hats: Pussy hats, that is. Many crafty folks made their own and sold them for the march to meet their goal of handing out 1 million hats.
The hats have become a symbol of feminism in the U.S. (though it may have rightfully caught some flack for not being inclusive of trans women), and helped women to reclaim Trump's horrible quote about grabbing women by the pussy. Beyond the hats, another iconic symbol of the marches were the signs. Making their rounds on the internet social media, people resonated strongly with the creative, hilarious signs from the marches around the world. Signs like:
The 2017 Women's March will likely go down in history for bringing such an astounding number of people together for a crazy cause: Believing that women's rights are human rights.
The Women's March takes place every year, with the 2020 march taking place only a few days ago. Though the turnout is not breaking records and over-working public transportation, the crowds continue to be just as passionate as they were on the first march 3 years ago today.