On January 21 women around the nation and the world will gather in Washington, DC for the Women’s March on Washington. It’s not the first time women have marched. The women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. started to gain momentum during the second part of the 19th century leading up to the constitutional amendment approving women’s right to vote in 1919. On August 26, 1970, on the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage, National Organization for Women (NOW) organized a “Women’s Strike for Equality.” Approximately 50,000 women marched in New York and another 100,000 women participated in demonstrations and rallies in 90 cities, 42 states. Read more about other marches here.
We’re still marching and we’re still lagging behind men in terms of equal representation in business and government and equal pay. And we’re still fighting for our rights to make personal choices about our health and have greater protection against sexual discrimination and predators.
For me personally, it’s not just about whether you are pro-choice or anti-abortion, fighting sexual inequality or discrimination, seeking workplace fairness and equal pay or standing firm that one day more women will lead more businesses, hold more seats in our government and lead our nation. For me it’s about “genderification” – being treated equally and being given the same opportunities and consideration as anyone else regardless of my gender or my race, or my age or my beliefs. Accept me for who I am and what I can do or hope to accomplish.
I am not marching January 21 but I am a soldier in spirit, not just one day but every day. And I encourage you to do the same. If you want to activate, then participate. Start walking the walk; not just talking the talk.
- If you want to be treated with more respect; start by being more respectful to yourself and to others.
- Being entitled does not mean acting entitled. We all believe we deserve equal opportunities and equal pay, but we all have to work hard to earn both. This applies to anyone of any age, gender or background.
- Focus on working to create solutions, not complaining about problems. Use your voice to raise awareness and bring people together not rip others to pieces.
- The biggest impact you can make is in your own backyard. You can make change happen in your community often more effectively, than waiting for the government to figure it out. Volunteer for a cause; become active with organizations you believe in; create your own effort.
- Stop posting and start hosting. Staying at home posting your concerns on social media (or reposting what everyone else is saying) achieves nothing. Use technology instead to host a MeetUp event (www.meetup.com) at your local community center, house of worship, school or home to gather people who share your interest and want to work together to make something happen.
One of the greatest marches on Washington was led by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, whom we honor January 16. He lived his purpose every day. Let’s keep do the same for women and, frankly, for all individuals to be equally and with respect.