Margaret Mead is often quoted as advising others never to underestimate the ability for a small, committed group to change the world – because often it is the only thing that does.
That advice rang true this past weekend as the Women’s March on Washington ballooned from an expected couple hundred thousand protesters to a global movement of more than one million, according to most estimates.
The event was planned to assert support for women’s rights after the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Solidarity marches sprang up across the globe, including Nanaimo, where organizers estimate 1,000 women gathered at Diana Krall Plaza before marching along Terminal Avenue to Maffeo Sutton Park.
The march, according to organizers, was intended as a response to the rhetoric of the recent presidential election and to send a message that the equal rights women fought for in the past won’t be easily surrendered.
In Canada, women are seeing themselves represented at the highest levels of power in the country. Day-to-day, however, women still face a wage gap that sees them paid less and a disproportionate number of women, often single mothers, living in poverty. An inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women is still only in its planning stages.
Those are not new issues facing Canadian women and with more attention focused on women’s issues south of the border, hopefully that can translate into action at home.
For, as organizers of the Women’s March on Washington point out, women’s rights are human rights. Solving issues of poverty and violence will have positive repercussions on all aspects of society, regardless of gender, race, religion or nationality.
A peaceful protest of a million-strong is a hard message to ignore. Hopefully, the words are not falling on deaf ears.