On Saturday 21 January, the first day of Donald Trump’s Presidency, a strong contingent of Cambridge students will attend the Women’s March on London in a show of solidarity in the light of recent political events.
370 marches will take place across the world, with the largest expected in Washington D.C. In London, protesters will congregate in Grosvenor Square at 12 pm before marching through Park Lane, Piccadilly and Pall Mall. A rally will then take place in Trafalgar Square at 2 pm.
Participants are marching for the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. A post on the Cam to Women’s March on London Facebook group showed a poster with the following statement: “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights”.
The founder of the Facebook group, Victoria Plutshack, explained her specific motivations for encouraging the participation of Cambridge students in the Women’s March on London.
“The final straw for me was when Donald Trump, at a rally post-election, asked the crowd if they wouldn't prefer that Time's "Person of the Year" Award was renamed ‘Man of the Year’. I knew intellectually that history isn't necessarily a progressive march to equality, but that was the moment I realized that we were seeing the future President of the United States pushing an actively regressive agenda. The crowd hadn't brought it up, or booed when he mentioned the award. He was whipping the crowd up to feel this way, and it was terrifying. I felt I needed to do something, so I tried to encourage people to attend the march, and started the Facebook group to help people make plans.”
She also pointed to the context of “rising tide of right-wing extremism across Europe and America”. Although she emphasised that women’s rights are being threatened, she added that “the march supports not just the rights of women, but recognises that equality must be for everyone. You’ll be seeing signs about everything from Brexit to climate change.”
This comes in the wake of the election of Trump as President and his history of sexist remarks. In 2015 he described Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, as “extremely unattractive”. In 2016 he advocated “some form of punishment” for women who have an abortion, causing outrage. He then reversed his position, instead advocating punishment for doctors who performed abortions.
More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the march, including celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrera, Katy Perry, Uzo Aduba, Zendaya, and Cher.