Why the global Women’s March movement will not change anything? To fight for social issues, personal engagement with local representatives need to supplement public protests.
Why is it happening ?
On the 21st of January, marches were taking place in over 600 cities across the world in solidarity with the Women’s March at the Washington Monument. The events of the 21st are designed especially in the United States to show the Trump Administration that U.S. citizens will not stand by whilst the administration looks to institute policy that many find repressive.
Why does it matter?
First and foremost, and generally speaking, the ideas promoted at the march are something that should become a reality for the daily lives of people — that being equality. It does show that there appears to be international like-minded people who will come to support other groups fighting for the equality cause. Thankfully, there are a set of values about how we as human beings see and choose to interpret one another. Whether it is sex, gender, or race, there are people out there who will look to socially support liberal and equal rights causes.
But let’s be honest here, and to some extent cynical, about what changes the protests can bring. Looking at recent campaigns we see that people who are involved in the marches operate on some level in the same bubble that does not include part of the society. Campaigns for social issues take place in democratic systems like the United States because elected officials, whether this be at a local, state, or national level, have not brought about change due to having lost the election. Political change, especially in the United States, will only come if campaign really takes local engagement seriously.
What can you do about it?
First, joining marches is a fantastic opportunity to become energized about social issues. Whether it is student fees in the United Kingdom or supporting other social causes, marches are a part of political growth for every person. People on marches or protests that may come in the future, however, are not stopping the issue being campaigned on from becoming the new reality through passed legislation.
Over the election period, in an interview Tomi Lahren, who has been described as a purely conservative commentator, called for discussion and debate as opposed to protesting. Her message goes beyond what political discourse has come down to: many programs have normalized people enclosed in their bubble talking about the action of another person or group in a different bubble. This interview is a small example of how it is possible to talk on a one-to-one basis, engage different points of view, and focus on the content rather than the popularity of the message.
In countries that have democratic elections, representatives can be voted for positions in which they can bring about the change that is being campaigned for today. But to do this, they need to engage with people, whose vote is valued just as much as the rest of the community, on a personal and equal level. Millennials should talk on a one-to-one basis with people whose vote may stop a representative looking to support publicly opposed or contested social issues from getting into elected office.
Find a different account on the Women’s March from The Intelligence Brief here.
Ethan Mclaughlin briefs from Birmingham, United Kingdom. He is a candidate for a Master in Arts in International Development with a focus on Conflict Security & Development.