There’re a series of Women’s Marches taking place on Saturday 21st January, in countries across the world. At the time of writing, there will be 616 events, and an estimated 2,053,370 people marching. It’s been called an international day of action, when people (men and women) will march for the protection of fundamental human rights and for the safeguarding of freedoms. They are standing together for the dignity and equality of all people, for the safety and health of this planet we call home, and in celebration of our vibrant and diverse communities
Both men and women are choosing to march, because as Hilary Clinton said back in 1995, in a speech at a United Nations conference in Beijing, “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights”. It affects all of us. So I too choose to stand with those who march.
Sadly, I’ll be standing metaphorically, and not in Central London at 12 noon on the 21st. A recent foot operation means that I’m neither allowed to, nor capable of walking much right now. But I stand in spirit, I stand in heart, I stand in support, and by stand I of course mean shuffle slowly from the sofa and walk precariously, leaning on walls for support. Joking aside, how can I not support this march, this movement, this ideal? How can I not believe in the fundamental equal rights of all human beings?
I have a young daughter, someone who will one day be a young women, and who I hope will live in a world where she can be anything she wishes to be; someone who has the same rights as the next person, the same opportunities. I hope that she can grow up free from fear; that she’s compassionate towards others; that she feels empathy, and expresses it, shows kindness; and that she cares about the world around her. That the world around her relishes democracy; freedom of religious expression for those who choose to believe; freedom of speech; acceptance of all people regardless of gender or race, age or sexual identity, and the right to make choices that are right for her body, her life, her family.
I can’t march this time, but I stand beside those who believe that there is no place for fear and division in the world.
I can’t march, but I stand beside those who believe that we have more in common than that which divides us.
I can’t march, but I stand beside those who can and will, or those who like me support them, and to all I’m grateful.
I can’t march, but I stand beside those who believe that women’s rights are human rights, and that the rise of women, does not mean the fall of men.