The Women’s March Series
Equal Rights Advocates is among the thousands of organizations and millions of people who have joined three Women’s Marches since 2017. Many of us share a common belief that freedom and equality belong to all of us. Many of us call for change to reach both. But each of us march (or don’t march) for different reasons. Each of us experience oppression, exploitation and fear as differently as we experience joy, abundance and safety.
As the Women’s March approaches its fourth year, we have observed what happens when some people who have designated themselves as Women’s March leaders try to speak for all of us. At Equal Rights Advocates, we reject this effort. The beauty of the Women’s March is inclusion as defined by each person who steps alongside us, even if there is disagreement among us. Equal Rights Advocates does not toe an organizational line when it comes to the Women’s March. We encourage every staff member to express their views. We publish a few here. They are beautiful, fierce, and independent. This is our movement, and we are proud of it.
By Noreen Farrell, Executive Director
For me, the Women’s March is a day to link arms with others in the community calling for inclusive gender justice.
In just two days, women and allies across the U.S. will gather for the Women’s March, the fourth since 2017, when 5 million people took to the streets across the globe. Since then, ERA has proudly walked beside our supporters and the broader community in San Francisco, Oakland, and Washington D.C. Why we march has been broadcast with fierce, funny, and poignant signs: “Believe women,” “Resist fear, assist love,” “Pay us more, touch us less” (that’s mine), and even “I’ve seen better cabinets at Ikea…”
For me, the Women’s March is a day to link arms with others in the community calling for inclusive gender justice. I believe my speech at the 2017 March captures that sentiment. I am inspired by ERA staff and others in the movement continually challenge the Women’s March to be inclusive and reflect our values. (Read a few ERA staff perspectives in our Women’s March blog series.)
I am also proud of the ways Equal Rights Advocates has challenged itself to connect communities and advocates after we march to push our movement’s agenda year-round. Check out the latest addition to Equal Rights Advocates’ plan to drive bold action and passionate resistance 365 days a year: The Women’s Agenda initiative.
The Women’s Agenda is Equal Rights Advocates’ vision of gender, inclusivity, and democracy for the 2020s.
With support from the Women Donors Network, we launch this effort after passing the country’s strongest sexual harassment and fair pay laws in California, with the goal of helping partners who want to replicate these laws in states across the nation. Please read more about our new dynamic digital Women’s Agenda Hub, connecting advocates across the country with resources and strategies to build community power and push law reform. The Women’s Agenda Hub will support other components of the initiative we launched with partners a few months ago, including a Rapid Response team and the Stop Harassment Network.
The Women’s Agenda is Equal Rights Advocates’ vision of gender, inclusivity, and democracy for the 2020s. We will not only continue writing this agenda into law and ensuring its passage (as we’ve done for 45 years); we will also have the tools to defend those laws even more effectively, and support advocates nationwide who are doing the same.
So after we’re done marching, let’s go back to making sure those in power are on board with our movement’s agenda, and ensuring that agenda works for everyone. That is the promise of the Women’s March, and we’re delivering beyond a day.
This piece is part of a series by Equal Rights Advocates staff members about personal decisions whether to participate in Women’s March 2020. Read Finance Assistant Mei Mei Chan’s perspective, and Deputy Director Delia Coleman’s perspective.