What drove women to join marches around the world this weekend?
By Magdalena Mis, Nita Bhalla and Ellen Wulfhorst
LONDON/DEHLI/WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – (Updates with details about protests)
Hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets in cities around the world on Saturday in opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump, a day after his inauguration.
Organisers expected up to one million people to participate in the marches in a global display of unity that culminated in a march in the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C.
Women protesters, many wearing pink knit hats, marched through downtown Washington around the White House and other landmarks, and also protested in other U.S. cities.
Thousands of women also took to the streets of Sydney, London, Tokyo, New Delhi and other European and Asian cities in solidarity.
Trump has angered many people with comments seen as demeaning to women, Mexicans and Muslims, and worried some abroad with his vow on Friday to put “America First”.
We asked some of the people taking part in these events why this had become a global day of action and what they hoped to achieve.
“I came in support of women’s rights and to protect our future and our health, and to prevent backsliding from the few gains we’ve made in the last few decades,” Karla Jackson, a 56-year-old pensioner from Raleigh, North Carolina, said as the Washington march got underway.
Meredith Dutterer, 37, of Clover, South Carolina, came to Washington with her nine-year-old daughter Ellie.
“We came to celebrate women’s equality because she’s nine and I’d like for her to have more opportunities than I had,” Dutterer said.
In London, organisers said an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people took part in the march, including Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“I’m here to show support for all the women, especially in Washington,” said Penny Dedman, 66.
“They need to see other people coming together. People woke up this morning realising (Trump’s presidency) was real. We have to do something about it,” she said.
“In 2017 it’s a disgrace there’s inequality, so I’m here to support equality and freedom and protest against sexism and the suppression of women’s rights,” said writer Kip Hall, 42, another London protester and one of the many men who joined the march.
In Barcelona, Spain, around 2,500 people joined the protest, organisers said.
“My message is that it is time to wake up and inform ourselves. This is no time to sit by. We need to make it happen,” said Stephanie Loveless, 33, a doctoral researcher and organiser of the Barcelona march.
Protesters also took to the streets of the Indian capital New Delhi.
”I am here because I want to go out without feeling scared of being molested. You face it day and night. It has become normalised,” said activist Logna Bezbaruah, 25.
“I am here today because I support the cause of equality. Women aren’t asking for more rights, just equal rights,” said activist Bhanu Pratap Pangtey, 27.
In the southern city of Bengaluru, where police are investigating reports of the mass molestation of women on New Year’s Eve, protesters said people should fight against sexual harassment being seen as normal.
“I and a lot of my friends have to deal with a lot of crap, mostly from men,” said Gayatri Ashta, 25, a technology consultant.
“Somewhere my anger had over the years become acceptance and then plain complacency. This march has reminded me that we don’t have to accept this,” she said.
(Reporting by Magdalena Mis @MagdalenaMis1 in London, Ellen Wulfhorst @EJWulfhorst in Washington and Nita Bhalla @nitabhalla in Delhi. Additional reporting by Megan Rowling @meganrowling in Barcelona. Editing by Astrid Zweynert @azweynert.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)