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  • Patricia Wilcox

37. Global Women look Back, March Forward


OR; The Case of the Invisible Womens March  

I can hardly believe it has happened again. Is this deja vu, or is it some strange kind of ‘realityTV ground hog’ day? Surely it can’t really have happened again? I look at the calendar and yes, it’s just like last January 21, 2017 all over again.

So because you might be reading this from where I live in New Zealand and probably didn’t know it, I’ll explain that it was on that day, precisely one year ago as I write this, that women all over the world came together en masse, millions upon millions of them, in a worldwide Women's March; a protest to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQI+ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and more.   

How did I know of this? Did my local radio tell me? Or was it television news? No, it was none of those. I stumbled across it when couch-surfing on the following day, on the more obscure Aljazeera channel. Wouldn’t you think that my country of New Zealand – first in the world to win votes for women – would be a frontrunner in heralding this news? A year ago, I was almost becoming willing to believe that, just possibly, such a vital piece of news could have escaped this avid listener/watcher. And just when I’m starting to believe that explanation, here it is again. It was in my earlier 'Post 31. The Doomsday Clock Is Ticking LOUDER...' that I lamented the silence of the New Zealand media on this remarkable event.  

And now, behold! Selective intelligence strikes the N.Z. media once again. As history repeats itself here in 2018 and women all over the world come together, millions upon millions of them, in a worldwide Women's March, our media seems to fall silent. Now, I admit that I don’t read every single piece of print media or watch every piece of news footage, but this vacuum is unacceptable. I want other Kiwi women and girls to know about this important movement that directly concerns them.  

The mission of the 2018 Women’s March is again to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities in creating transformative social change. That’s something our mothers, sisters and daughters need to know about.

This crucial March is a women-led movement that aims to provide education on a diverse range of issues, and to encourage the emergence of a new age of grass-roots activists and organizers. What an exciting opportunity for a new generation of Kiwi women to play such a vital role! What a great opportunity for them to foster engagement in their local communities through training, outreach programs and events.

Working as their great grandmothers did, to increase wider commitment in dismantling systems of oppression through non-violent resistance, and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect. What harm is there in this?   

Men can only benefit by being partnered by strong, educated, effective partners. Generations of humanity can only benefit from being mothered by educated, strong and effective mothers. Can’t we all benefit from reform of our immigration and healthcare system? Can’t we collaborate in improving issues related to reproductive rights and the natural environment? Don’t we need to investigate what can be done to address necessary LGBTQI+ rights?   

These aren’t personal or even national concerns. Racial equality, freedom of religion and the like are global issues, demanding a global response. I love that good old feminist slogan that states ‘the personal is political’. What we do as individuals determines our collective future.

A theme of the present march is ‘Look Back, March Forward’. The Bible warns, ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’. This is pay-back time, time to acknowledge the hardships of those past generations of women who laboured under the shackles of inequality, yet raised generations of citizens who enabled us to stand here today, strong, effective, and extremely advantaged, with a great debt of gratitude towards our forebears.