Looking back at the biggest feminist victories of 2017
After the 2016 presidential election, many feminists found it hard to feel optimistic about the year ahead. But now that we’ve made it through, it’s important to remember how much this movement accomplished even in the face of political adversity. Here are just three ways women pushed forward in 2017.
1. The Women’s March: 2017 started with a bang. On January 21, 2017, women across the country and world gathered to march in protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration and in support of each other. According to the Washington Post, the Women’s March on Washington was the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history. The march reaffirmed the belief held by so many women that the changes they want and need are still possible and motivated us all to continue to work and advocate for them. The Women’s March was arguably a catalyst that galvanized women across the country — and world — to resist and persist.
2. #MeToo: While women have long felt pressured to keep quiet about their experiences with rape and sexual harassment, this year women spoke out more openly and forcefully about their experiences with this abusive treatment than they perhaps ever have before. Multitudes of powerful, yet abusive, men have seen their careers disintegrate this year after female entrepreneurs voiced allegations against high-profile male venture capitalists, female celebrities spoke out against men in entertainment — like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Morgan Spurlock, Ed Westwick, and more — and women in media and politics spoke out against the likes of Matt Lauer, many employees at Vice, and Al Franken.
This movement largely centered around a hashtag originally created by Tarana Burke: #MeToo.
Women used this hashtag to share their experiences with sexual assault or harassment and finally (finally!) felt their voices were heard. Participants in the #MeToo movement ranged from celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow (who brought forth accusations against Weinstein) to girls who might have been sitting next to you in your classes. The #MeToo movement includes women of all ages, races, and classes — showing the power of the collective voice in creating meaningful, substantial progress in the movement for gender equality.
Hopefully, this movement will continue into 2018 and beyond. And if you or someone you care about has been dealing with the aftereffects of sexual assault, here’s how you can help get through it or help others through it.
3. Black women saved the day in Alabama. If there’s anything feminists learned from the way white women voted in the 2016 election, it’s that we still have a lot of work to do in order to truly elevate women of all races, genders, classes, and religions. The special election in Alabama proved especially demonstrative of the importance of intersectional feminism.
In early December, Republican senate candidate Roy Moore — an accused child molester and sexual predator — lost to Doug Jones, who became the first Democratic senator from Alabama in 25 years. According to exit polls, 63 percent of white women in Alabama voted for Moore — a disheartening echo of how, in last year’s presidential election, 53 percent of white female voters cast ballots for a man who consistently degraded women. Crucial to Moore’s defeat, however, were the 98 percent of black women who voted for Jones — who similarly overwhelmingly voted to defeat Trump in the 2016 election.
This election demonstrated that today, as in the past, women are far from a unified voting bloc. The future of feminist power in politics lies in recognizing the contributions of women of color, who have long received little credit for their leadership in feminist issues.
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