With the election of Donald Trump to the presidency and his conservative agenda, the American women’s rights movement is organizing for battle. The Trump campaign for president had no platform reflecting women’s issues, a major omission for activists long advocating for a feminist agenda.
Many of Trump’s most visible supporters were anti-choice and opposed to funding Planned Parenthood. Others articulated right wing ideology that included repealing the Affordable Health Care Act, rounding up immigrants to deport them, reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits and repealing climate control programs.
The Trump transition team recently requested information from the State Department about staff who work on issues affecting women and girls and how much has been spent on these efforts, raising concern among some advocates over why this information on successful international gender equity programs begun by Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state was wanted.
With the election of Trump, the work to achieve gender equality continues to move forward on many fronts and is more vital than ever. Whether organizing, marching or advocating for public policy, the women’s movement will not retreat. If anything, it will organize even more.
Demonstrations occurred after Trump’s victory and are now being planned in a more coordinated way. Clinton received 2.8 million more popular votes than Trump and many of those women and men who voted for her will express their frustration at her defeat, among other things, on Jan. 21 by marching in Washington, D.C., and other cities around the country. The organizers of the Women’s March have declared:
“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
In the lead up to the marches, the organizers have released a very progressive platform, including statements on reproductive rights, ending violence, LGBTQIA rights, immigrant rights and environmental justice.
California, my home state, alone has 14 cities where marches will occur. My community of Santa Barbara County will be sending over 1,000 people to the march in Los Angeles, according to Lisa Guravitz, board member of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee.
Besides this highly anticipated national march, in response to Trump’s election other demonstrations and efforts are also being developed. For example, this spring the Feminist Majority Foundation will start organizing walks for “equality to put women in the Constitution.”
“This election has shown the urgent need for an equal rights amendment to the Constitution,” Kathy Spillar, executive director of the Feminist Majority and executive editor of Ms. Magazine, told Women’s e-News.