Feminism marches towards uncertain future

February 1, 2018 Opinion

The feminist movement lives on with the second annual Women’s March, held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite the difficulties described by Women’s March Co-Chair Linda Sarsour—conflicting organizations and conflicting people—the event has seen international success two years in a row.

Now, two very different approaches are being employed in furthering the goals of the movement, something I argue is to its benefit.

Though the movement has its roots in the U.S. and its political scene, the Women’s March has garnered international support.

NPR reports, “Saturday saw protesters take to the streets from New York to Los Angeles—from Nigeria to Iraq.”

Associated Press writes that “thousands of participants trudged through sleet and snow in central London, while a heavy rain doused a relatively small gathering in Paris, and thousands mobilized in Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia.”

Yet despite a unity in support for the movement’s goals, co-founders disagree on the best approach. Some push for racial and social justice directly whereas others believe a change in political leaders is necessary first.

To that end, co-founder Vanessa Wruble started March On, an organization dedicated to empowering the oppressed and promoting change through electoral activism. Meanwhile, Women’s March Inc. continues to promote racial and social justice directly. Both organizations were present this past Women’s March.

This dual approach may appear to complicate or deter the movement—after all, half as many resources and people go to each approach. Moreover, it could lead to serious conflict between factions.

Even so, we might do well to move past the chicken-egg argument—that social change must precede political change or vice versa—and target both simultaneously.

Focusing solely on social reform informs the public, but the laws remain in the hands of legislators; there are no people with newly-formed mindsets in positions of power. Similarly, focusing solely on political activism puts people in a position to create change, but without the widespread support of the general public.

Between March On and Women’s March Inc., there are activists targeting both the general attitude and the positions needed to promote legal change. We can hope that this is how things progress in the near future.

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