The Current

Why thousands are heading to the Women's March in Washington

As women from across North America converge on Washington for a massive protest demonstration meant to send a message to the incoming Trump administration, they are also sending messages to each other.
Activists rally during a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his 'treatment of women' in front of Trump Tower, Oct. 17, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Donald J. Trump, the former Miss Universe pageant owner, becomes the leader of the free world Jan. 20, when he's sworn in as the next U.S. president.

For many women, his election and misogynist behaviour has brought uncertainty and anxiety around the world — prompting hundreds of thousands of women to march against the Trump administration on Jan. 21.

Thanu Yakupitiyage, senior communications manager at the New York Immigration Coalition, a partner organization of the Women's March says, for her, the march is about "affirming that all women and women of colour, Indigenous women ... are really here together for the long haul."

"Saturday is really about pushing many issues from, you know, sexism to immigrant rights, to really addressing sexual assault and the lack of the ability of our leaders and our 'leader' Donald Trump."

She tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti why she wants to see feminism move forward from third wave to a fourth wave. 
Molly Cleator (R) takes part in the Pussyhat social media campaign to provide pink hats for protesters in the women's march in Washington, D.C., set for Jan. 21. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

"We need to really be radically envisioning what we want for women in this country and across the world. We need to move away from the idea that feminism is just for white women or feminism is just about a particular set of women — moving forward it's about all of us."

Yakupitiyage feels it's necessary to have the Women's March encompass all genders, races, cultures and include many different movements such as Black Lives Matter, Indigenous movements and LGBT movements.

"All of these people together working towards the goal of equity and that equity means self-determination for all of us."

Lauren Duca, a freelance journalist who writes for Teen Vogue, understands the need for inclusiveness but adds achieving social equity requires a right to choose. It requires reproductive rights.

"I'm happy to be inclusive when we're talking about women who are pro-life but I think that they have to understand that they can make a pro-life choice for themselves and believe morally and ethically whatever … but on a political level, on a practical level, without the right to choose, we cannot possibly achieve women's equality."

"I do think that is the fundamental issue," says Duca.

Two women hold up signs directed at Donald Trump during a Toronto rally against the Republican candidate's campaign. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)

For CNN political commentator Sally Kohn the march is important because it's designed to be more than just a march —"pushing women of all kinds, and men too, to think not just about their own perspective on feminism and on equality but to understand how everything is connected."

"It's not just a statement but a matter of fact that until everyone is free — no one is free, and we're going to have a lot to do in the coming months and years under a Trump administration to really put our belief in those principles to test —to not just show up at a march but actually live that out,"Kohn tells Tremonti.

Yakupitiyage sees the march representing the beginning of something greater — to hold this new administration to account.

"Donald Trump did not win by the popular vote. There are millions of people in this country whose civil liberties are at risk at this current moment. And we really need to fight harder than we've ever fought before in order to preserve them," she says.

"For me, the women's march is really about demonstrating that our liberation is bound to each other and that you know as Dr. Martin Luther King said 'We cannot walk alone.'"

"We have to really work together to really push forward all of our issues."

Listen to the full segment at the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Willow Smith, Ashley Mak and Ines Colabrese.