Reflections on #womensmarchlondon

 On Saturday 21 January 2017 – the day after Donald Trump became President of the United States – hundreds of thousands of people across the globe stood up for women’s rights and equality. Our @annazecharia was at the London march.

The photos which accompany this post are by Louise Morris. Find her as @LouMorrisPhoto on Twitter, and the full set of photos on her Facebook page.

From the moment I left home, to the moment I got off the bus at the end of the day, it felt like everyone was part of #womensmarchlondon. We turned out in our thousands, so that probably wasn’t far from the truth. The little boy who asked his mum what a demonstration was. The little girl who observed that kids at school had said Donald Trump was mean. The two older women comparing photos on their way home. The teenagers dressed as the Statue of Liberty, with tears of blood. The babies in buggies – or strapped to their placard-carrying mums and dads. We all descended on Grosvenor Square on Saturday morning. Calling out for friends, shuffling forward with the masses, grabbing a coffee to ward off the biting January cold. Laughing at the creative hilarity of so many banners and slogans. Slogans that were often angry but rarely violently so. The kind of anger that seeks justice, not that sets out to harm.

Because we will not be silent. We reserve the right to speak and act without shame. We reserve the right to stand up, for ourselves and those who need our support. We reserve the right to bite back, to grab back.  We demand that the world is for everyone. Women’s rights are human rights, men for equality are men of quality, black lives matter –  and the future should be bright, not a uniform orange. I could keep listing the beautiful intelligence running through this protest. The fire of fury and kindness that burned as we walked the streets of London. Together.

ScienceGrrl is a stitch in this tapestry. Our focus is gender equality in science and engineering, but it is informed by these principles as part of a larger whole. Science is for everyone. Equality is for everyone. The world is for everyone. We try to make our contribution with joy, the firmness of clear thinking, and of course some GRR. We care about how we get there as much as where we are going. We are fighting a tide of negativity as much as the issues themselves.

Fear and disconnection have defined public debate abroad and at home for too long. History happens in slow motion. We can’t stand in front of the steamroller like the henchman in “Austin Powers”. We cannot take our rights or our future for granted.

We know this, but it can be hard to stay positive and keep believing in change when things look bleak in every direction.

For me, this march was restorative.

We came together.

We laughed. We shouted. We sang.

We marched.

We remembered that
we are not alone in this, and we reminded others that “we are with her”.

We refuelled for the challenges of tomorrow.

My deepest thanks to the organisers, and all those who were there in person or in spirit.