By Erin Hampton
March 8th was International Women’s Day, a day when women across the globe celebrate gender equality and the empowerment of women. My personal experience of this day started when I saw multiple posts across my own social media from women and men, showing support and love to the women in their lives. However, I got to experience even more than that when I took part in the Day Without a Woman strike in New York City.
The first rally I attended was located near Trump Tower and Columbus Circle. It was advertised by a tweet from the official Twitter account of the Women’s March. The crowd was smaller than I expected, even though I arrived a little late. There were a wide array of posters and decorative t-shirts. One of the most moving messages being held proudly in the air was of two ‘bloody’ coat hangers, to represent the coat-hanger abortions women performed on themselves when abortion was illegal. The rally leader talked about the President Trump’s regime and compared the protests here in the US to those that have occurred for women across the world. While positive, this rally seemed to have a different type of tone than the protest I attended later on, it was angry and frustrated. Despite the different feeling in the air, there was still an overwhelming positive and empowering aura coming from the general attendance. It was fantastic to see that the age of the supporters ranged from students to grandmothers.
The next rally at Washington Square Park was very different from the earlier one in Columbus Circle. The energy was different, it was full of music, dancing, smiles, and pure pride. There were parents with their baby girls dressed in red, and dogs all over with red collars. Of course, there were hundreds of great posters at this rally as well, covering topics like the rights of trans women and immigrants. While both of the events I attended throughout the day were inspiring and made me excited to be involved, the one at Washington Square Park was so uplifting and empowering it would be hard for anyone to not want to go and fight the patriarchy afterwards!
Yet, this day was about even more than the patriarchal society we live in. International Women’s Day is about uplifting each other as people, about supporting each other’s rights, opinions, and standing for everyone together as males and females. There were people of all ages, races, and religions participating in these events, for example, I saw many women wearing bright red hijabs. I truly enjoyed being able to relish in the beauty of people coming together, standing for me, my best friends, my mother, and the other women in my life and the world. I’m proud to have been a part of the movement, and to know that so many other women and men are supporting each other. Moments like these are what remind me, and I’m sure what remind other people, that the world is still a great place. I strike for everyone.