Traditionally, Women’s Day is a day that honours and celebrates women’s achievements – from political to social, and everything in between. And given the current political climate, this year’s Women’s Day is a day that has become more relevant than ever.
This last year saw a powerful shift in collective attitude in direct response to the current US President. This doesn’t surprise me one bit. From my perspective, the more adversity women are faced with, the more empowered we become. Even on a personal level, many of my major breakthrough moments have come from my biggest struggles.
Seeing women come together for the Women’s March was the perfect example of gaining strength in the face of adversity. After being hit with over a year’s worth of disparaging, sexist attacks, not to mention the threat of marginalising policies, an estimated five million women (and men) came together to march in over 673 locations – not just in the United States either, but all over the world. From Denmark to India, from Lebanon to the United Kingdom, women stood in solidarity with each other in a way I have never seen in my lifetime, making the Women’s March the biggest march to ever be recorded in history.
So what was the point of it? On the one hand, it was a direct response to how Trump chose to run his campaign, as well as his election. And on the other, it was to send a message to the world that women are strong and not afraid to be heard. It was the message that love and inclusivity are stronger than any rhetoric of hate or fear. It was a reassurance to each other and to others that no woman is alone in her struggle. It was a public display of solidarity and having each other’s backs. It was proof that we truly are better when we are undivided. And it was the perfect example of how peace and the ability to organise peacefully can make a more positive change than any level of violence.
But to me, it was also an example of how important clear communication is. My job requires me to work with a large range of people who come from a wide range of political affiliations, as well as social and cultural backgrounds – and negotiating is a huge part of my job. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that when you are trying to find a plane of understanding between two polarised sides, finding a language that both can understand is crucial.
At the Women’s March, there were so many examples of this. From Scarlett Johansson and America Ferrera to Elizabeth Warren, there were powerful instances of open communication, spoken in a way that made their points exceptionally clear. And then there was Madonna. Her use of profanities throughout her speech caused the news outlets to cut away from her before she even finished her point.
I’m inclined to agree with Cyndi Lauper when she said Madonna’s speech ‘didn’t serve our purpose.’
Nevertheless, I’m thrilled by the collective power and momentum of the Women’s March. As women, we march every day. We fight battles that are not always obvious, but are crucial to bettering our lives and the world around us. We fight to be taken seriously at our jobs, for equal pay, for our safety, and for the right to make our own decisions.
This is not just a fight for American women, and as an expat I understand this more now than ever before.
We as women have more of a voice now than we have ever had, built on the efforts of those who have come before us and marched before us. My hope is that the momentum and energy of the Women’s March continues and expands to include women all over the world. Being lucky enough to live in Dubai, I am constantly reminded of what the United States’ leaders have seemed to forget.
We are not isolated – even when it feels that way. Yes, we have our countries, but we are citizens of a global community. And considering this world is not getting any bigger, it’s imperative that we look out for each other as much as we can, long after the next four years are over.
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