An estimated 200,000 women and supporters of women’s rights are set to take to the streets in Washington DC. They will be protesting the Trump Presidency and voicing their fears over what the new administration will mean for women’s rights.
‘Sister’ marches will be taking place in cities throughout the nation- including Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
KRWG spoke to one Las Cruces couple making the 2000 mile trip to DC to march and be heard. A loss of women’s health and reproductive rights, gender inequality and the unfair treatment of female victims of sexual assaults - These are just a few of the fears held by women walking in marches throughout the country- the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Las Crucen Beth Bardwell is marching in DC with her husband- Jon Holtzman. She said she was gutted on election night.
“The day of the election and hearing the results I just felt such a sense of despair and realty betrayal coming out of this election many of the values that I grew up with that my parents lived by and instilled in my 3 sisters and I felt were abandoned and ridiculed by trump and his supporters as being politically correct and so what are those values tolerances compassion, equality – freedom and justice." Bardwell said
"I just felt like I had to make a stand that these issues are for me the bedrock for what it means to be an American and that I need to stand up and give voice to support for those values as we move forward in America.”
Bardwell is a lawyer who works in another role at Audubon New Mexico- she has two daughters on similar trajectories, studying medicine and law. Bardwell said she and her daughters have only had these opportunities because people fought for women’s rights decades ago.
“There are people who have stood up for these values that I have benefited from in my life and that I need to stand up to make sure those values continue and benefit my children and generations to come.” Bardwell said
A majority of women voters backed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump-
54 percent to 42 percent. Bardwell says she’s concerned they, as well as a majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump won’t be represented in his administration.
For American women, that representation is not off to a great start, Donald Trump has nominated fewer female Cabinet members than any president since Ronald Reagan.
Bardwell’s husband Jon Holtzman- who will also be making the trip to Washington is concerned about his daughters’ future.
“Women issues are a big deal- you know since I have my daughters I am concerned about them being able to get work and get work at equal pay and have access to reproductive services those are all important issues.” Holtzman said.
In a December poll by PerryUndem -- 82% percent of women said sexism was a problem in society today, male respondents had less recognition of sexism as felt by women- but it was only male Republican respondents who said it is actually a better time to be a woman.
Holtzman said it is not simply women’s issues that are at stake in the next 4 years.
“I am also concerned about environmental issues. And labor issues and general fairness issues.”
Holtzman said he hopes the march evolves into something more than a symbolic show of solidarity but instead an event that can push change and mobilize action.
“(It is something) that I have struggled with a lot is what is the role of these kinds of protests in todays world ? It is not clear. It is not a lot more than them saying here here you have had your chance to have your say, now we will go do whatever we want. I don’t really know how to overcome that.”
“There becomes just some point which silence is complicity and it is just our responsibility to speak up however we can . Whether we think it is an effective way or not – we just cant say oh I guess bad things are going to happen and I wont worry about it.”
“I think is important that we all recognize that there are people that are willing to go to bat for these policies. So yes – I think just the act of going- just the act of taking to the streets it self is significant and important an outcome that will contribute to other people joining us and saying yes these are important issues and we cannot let these policies be changed in a way that hurt us in America moving forward.”
In addition to marches in DC and throughout New Mexico….sister events are being held in some 30 countries around the world.