With attendance numbers topping three million, the inaugural Women’s March held in January of 2017 was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Celebrating the power of women, this peaceful movement grew quickly to advocate legislation and policies for all human rights. This year, the marches took place again throughout the world and closer to home in Kalamazoo. Friends, sisters, grandmothers and daughters; all ages of women finding their voice again after too long.
Most young women today have little understanding of the battles their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers fought throughout history in an attempt for equal footing, or even just a step in the right direction for equal rights. While quite young, I had the pleasure of seeing feminism explode wide open with the actions of activists like Gloria Steinem. But somewhere along the way, the movement lost its way—pushed aside to make room for Barbie dolls and castles in the girls’ toy aisle at the department store.
And then our country became politically polarized to an extreme not seen in decades.
If nothing else, the rise of extremist viewpoints also gave a voice to a segment of the population that thought status quo was good enough. Women are again standing up and finding their voice.
And girl, this time the world is listening.
Change often comes when the voice of many find a common cause. The #MeToo movement started with the courageous stand taken by a group of women in Hollywood—a change that has grown to include all occupations and situations involving sexual harassment. While the Time’s Up movement has resulted in career casualties and will no doubt bring more, it is the unavoidable consequence of a swinging pendulum that will bring real change for young women today and tomorrow.
During the telecast of this year’s Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey received the annual Cecil B. Demille Award for lifetime achievement. She gave a powerful acceptance speech, and wrapped up with the following…
…I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again.”
~~ Heidi McCrary