Why I marched
On January 21st, 2017,
my granddaughters and I met my daughter and her friends on the capitol grounds in Austin where we participated with fifty thousand others in The Women’s March on ATX. I really didn’t know exactly what to expect, but as my granddaughters and I rounded the corner on Congress, and I spied the cheering crowds gathering on the capitol lawn, I was moved to tears at the magnitude of this event. I have conservative friends, even a conservative husband, who asked, “Why do you want to do this?” My answer is “because.”
…because my mother endured a miserable 20 year marriage to a bully and an alcoholic because she could not earn enough as a single mother to support herself and her child.
…because my career choices were limited by my gender.
…because if I had chosen to go into a career dominated by men (most, at that time), I would have had to fight a constant battle to be promoted and still in most cases would earn less than my male counterparts.
…because it was commonplace for my female friends and I to endure inappropriate suggestions, remarks, and even touching by male coworkers and superiors.
…because I couldn’t own a personal credit card until I was in my mid twenties. Before that, it had to be in my husband’s name.
…because in a job interview, a school principal told me that I was “mighty cute,” but he wanted a male for the job.
…because as a teacher and counselor, I worked with so many teen girls who felt pressured to become sexually involved with their boyfriends, whether they wanted to or not.
…because as a teacher and counselor, I worked with girls who were physically and sexually abused by both male relatives and partners.
…because shelters housing abused and homeless women and children are bursting at the seams.
…because one in four women in colleges across the nation have endured being raped or assaulted, and most never went to the police because of the repercussions they would have to endure.
…because it alarms me to look at social media and see so many teens and young women who feel their worth is solely based on their sexual attraction.
…because I want to inspire my daughters and granddaughters to think for themselves, to stand up to unfair treatment, and to aspire to be a strong role model for their children.
…because I want to send a message to all men who think women are objects to be groped, ridiculed, and bullied.
…because I am of the generation that pushed so hard on the glass ceiling, it broke. Due to the women’s movement of the late 60’s and 70’s, women can compete in the workplace and become whoever they wish to be. Yet there is still more to do.
…because so many women throughout the world have no rights. How many women can’t vote, can’t be educated, can’t go out in public without their bodies being completely covered? How many women are sexually exploited and/or sold into slavery to make somebody else rich? How many women die in childbirth because they don’t have access to healthcare? The list goes on.
I’ve seen lots of social media posts about the shameful behavior and attire of the women who marched; yet the shamers condone or brush off the behavior of a man who laughed about grabbing women by their private parts. I’m not ashamed that I marched. I’m proud. I’d do it again tomorrow.