To celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to take a moment and thank all the strong, brilliant, and powerful women leaders out there. This year alone, we have seen so many beautiful moments of unity through women activists from all over the world. Each month of this year so far has held incredible peaceful protests led by women, welcoming anyone who is ready to fight the good fight.
In January, we saw women and men alike wearing pink in solidarity of women. What started off as an idea to protest after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration became so much more. The idea triggered a spark in women that led to something much greater than the Women’s March. It became the start of a new revolution for women, and the largest peaceful protest in United States history with literally millions of participants.
Crowds throughout the United States stood in unity of bright pink cat earred beanies, clever posters, powerful messages, and strong women. From Washington D.C., to cities all over the world, women came out to stand in solidarity with one another and to remind one another that we are more than sexual objects that the current president makes us seem. We are sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, friends, engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, and so much more. We are fearless. We are strong. We are resilient. We won’t keep quiet.
In February, women around the country busted out their pink beanies once again, to stand with Planned Parenthood as Donald Trump made decision to defund Planned Parenthood. Those who are against Planned Parenthood generally associate the health clinic with abortions, but the clinics offer so much more than that. Here’s a brief run-down of a few services that Planned Parenthood provides:
- women and men with affordable health care
- allows women to have control over their reproductive rights
- promotes sex education
- offers low-cost pap smears and breast exams
For many women, it is a safe place where they can get the healthcare that they need when they can’t always afford it at a regular health clinic. The Stand With Planned Parenthood protests began at local Planned Parenthoods, marching through cities as a sea of pink.
This protest was meaningful to me, as a young woman who has been a patient of Planned Parenthood for several years. I have been on birth control since I first became sexually active at the age of 17. Having strict parents, this was not something I could reveal to them or open up about at that age. Planned Parenthood, however, was able to help provide me with a year’s supply of birth control, , a supply of condoms, a Plan-B pill and a regular STI exam with every visit. Through each of these visits, and the two different clinics I’ve gone to, I’ve never felt unwelcome or out of place. Best of all, I was able to take control of my reproductive health and earn my undergraduate degree with no worries of anything unwanted.
I attended the protest in my college city with two girlfriends, as we listened to the speeches at the end of the march. I was touched by how diverse the speakers were; women sharing stories of a time before Planned Parenthood, families sharing their experience in family planning, women of color praising Planned Parenthood for being a safe place for immigrants both legal and illegal, fathers who care for their daughters, and the LGBQT community that was able to get hormones through Planned Parenthood as well as STI / STD screenings. So many people of all different backgrounds felt so incredibly grateful for Planned Parenthood and depend on it, and I am one of them.
This month, for International Women’s Day, women who were able to skip work participated in a “Day Without a Woman”. This time, instead of a sea of pink, women and men all over the country wore red to stand with the women who protested for equality. The strike asked employers to imagine “a day without a woman”, and to further make a statement, women participating in this protest did not shop or spend on this day.
All of these protests, rallies, and risks are led by women, planned by women, but welcome to everyone and anyone. That’s equality. So here’s to all the ladies who are putting in work, who are changing the game and making moves that are making history. Happy Women’s History Month to all the strong ladies out there, you are all inspiring.