Here's Why Tens of Thousands of Women Are Going to Washington

January 20th 2017

Sarah Gray

On Saturday, January 21 — one day after President Donald Trump's inauguration — hundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to descend on the U.S. capital for the Women's March on Washington. Thousands more will also march at ancillary Women's Marches across the globe.

Co-mingled with images of Trump's (sparsely attended) inauguration ceremonies, and sometimes violent protests across D.C., have been social media images of trains, planes, and automobiles (buses) of women heading to the march. 

I was one of them. At the TSA security line in Los Angeles, my mother and I encountered countless women on their way to our nation's capitol. On my second flight, somebody in the back of the plane yelled "sister power" and the flight erupted in cheers. My hotel in Baltimore is awash with women in pink knitted hats, and even a trip to the drug store around the corner yielded two new friends (and a selfie).

Sarah Gray at CVS

Overall, 54 percent of women voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — the first female nominee for president of a major political party — and only 42 percent of women voted for Trump. Breaking it down by race and education, however, paints a more complicated portrait. Per Quartz and The Washington Post:

Female voters 2016

College educated female voters 2016

During the election, Trump came under fire not only for his comments about women, including the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, on which the president brags about grabbing women "by the pussy." There have also been a series of sexual assault allegations levied against him, suggesting his lewd comments were more than just words. Still, that was not enough to prevent 53 percent of white women from voting for him.

Women's rights activists worry about what a Trump administration will mean for a myriad of issues including the right to choose, access to cost-free contraception, the fate of the Violence Against Women grants (reportedly to be cut), Title IX protections for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment in college, LGBT protections, marriage equality, the safety of immigrant families, civil rights protections, and the fate of Planned Parenthood.

The Women's March, while criticized for not being inclusive enough of non-white women, notes in its mission statement that President Trump has threatened "immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, [and] survivors of sexual assault." Accordingly, "In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore."