The Women’s March

Yesterday was the Women’s March. I was lucky enough to be a part of it. Tallulah and I drove down to London and met up with a bunch of friends old and new to be a part of women around the world making history. I say women. What I mean is ‘everyone.’

I’d been excited about it for about two weeks beforehand. The night before I couldn’t sleep. When I finally started driving through thick fog down the M1 I got that horrible sinking feeling, that ‘what if it’s a damp squib?’ feeling.

It wasn’t a damp squib. It was a bastard massive flare shooting into the sky is what it was, and I loved every minute of it, even the standing around freezing my bits off in Grosvenor Square.

There were a lot of people you see. A lot. I heard someone say she’d asked a policeman when she arrived how many people they were expecting to turn up. Apparently he said two or three hundred. We did a little better than that. There were one hundred thousand of us.

Actually, globally, conservative estimates give a figure of 2.5 million of us marching yesterday. All together, all in solidarity. All working as one.

There were so many of us in Grosvenor Square that it took well over an hour for us to get out. At one point we thought we’d just have to stay there, the sheer number of us was so great. By the time we actually got properly under way our feet were like blocks of ice and it was difficult remembering how to put one foot in front of the other. We were helped by a bunch of LGBT activists who were having a disco march within the march and that soon warmed us up.

It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. It was a joy and a privilege to be there. As we marched, and chanted and sang and celebrated together the mood got better and better. It was more like a party than a protest. It was wonderful to see so many different people with so many different philosophies, calls to arm, beliefs and ideas all coming together peacefully to make a stand. It was everything I ever dreamed a march could be.

There were babies in buggies and slings. There were toddlers on scooters. Parents marched with their children on their shoulders. People marched with their dogs. There were people in wheelchairs being pushed, there were old people and young people, men and women, people of all faiths, colours, creeds and genders. There were people dressed up. There were people dressed down. There were famous people. We spotted Mark Gatiss in the crowd. Even Dr. Who was there. There were non famous people. Me, for one. There were people marching for all kinds of causes, and proving that there was room for everyone.

There was no violence at all, no problems, no sense of threat. The few policemen I saw were chatting and laughing with the marchers and looked to be enjoying themselves as much as we were. A lady had a huge shopping bag filled with snack packs that she’d made up for hungry, thirsty marchers. She’d taken the time to stick slogans on the bags to keep people’s spirits up. There was a lady who had a bag full of pink pussy hats she’d made and was giving them out to people who didn’t have hats. People were offering placards and badges and just generally being kind and brilliant and generous and resourceful and downright lovely.

Half way down Piccadilly I could see up as far as Trafalgar Square and it was wall to wall people. I turned and walked backwards and you could see as far as Park Lane and it was still wall to wall people, and they were still coming as I marched. It was awesome in the absolutely truest sense of the word.

By the time we reached Trafalgar Square the speeches were over. They’d been over for a while, and still the Square was full and still people were arriving. It was just perfect.

Yesterday I saw in action on the streets of my favourite city in the world, people coming together to be what I believe we can be all the time. They showed me a future I’ve sometimes doubted we deserve. They showed me that we are many, our voice is loud. They made me believe again that we can do this. There is another way and it isn’t such an impossible dream. They showed me what equality looks like in real time with real people and I loved it.

20 responses to “The Women’s March

  1. What a day. Women together are wonderful. Even in Penzance a group of us gathered together holding placards, singing songs – all peaceful. I have to say some of the local populace were a bit bemused, but we are pretty used to all sorts of weirdness/wonderfullness down here. Gill

  2. It was incredible, wasn’t it?! I half-thought I would see you there, but fat chance. Although…. Pip also thought it might be a damp squib and he speculated beforehand that maybe there wouldn’t be too many people (“maybe 12 people will be there when we show up, so a total of 21 altogether…”), but as we were marching he heard someone say, “I thought in my head it would just be us.” Was that you?! Or did many people secretly worry that it wouldn’t be as massive as it was. Because it was indeed massive!

  3. Thank you so much for being there, and taking so many of us in spirit! I watched everything that I could and listened to wise, passionate women and cheered. You were all a force of nature! So proud of you! Much love to you and all who sailed with you xx

  4. Your post, which I read just now, echoed so many of my own feelings and observations of marching in Vancouver yesterday. I waffled about doing a piece about it, but you have inspired me. It really was an amazing, uplifting and historic day, wasn’t it?. Definitely reassured me that, despite troubled times and divisive politics….as you noted, ‘We are many, our voice loud.” Together and as individuals we will continue to stand up for the values of justice, truth, equality, honest open government and a healthy environment.

  5. It really was amazing! I too was in Grosvenor Sq for well over an hour with my sister and little boy in buggy. But it didn’t feel like that long as the atmosphere was so wonderful. It was so busy we had no hope of finding our friends, but somehow managed to bump into people we hadn’t seen for some twenty years! An amazing coincidence. A great day to be part of. Now just need to figure out what to do next…

  6. Unfortunately, we were travelling back from Ansterdam, on Saturday, after a short visit. As our bus past Museumplein on the way to the airport we saw the crowds gathered there. Later friends in Amsterdam posted pictures of that march too. So good to see that sort of solidarity.
    Thinking of women’s rights and gender equality: I have just read an article about the gender divide in technology. Despite 75% of the teaching profession being female very few girls are getting into technology or infact any of the STEM(science, tech engineering and maths) subjects. One writer, a technology teacher in a primary school, Claire Lotriet suggests it is because of a lack of male role models in the early years at school, so girls are predominately taught by females at these crucial early stages. I guess there is some truth in that. Some of the best early years practitioners, I have seen are male, and they are few and far between….
    Anyway what all this means is that the gender gap is still very much in evidence despite a few cracks in that glass ceiling. Trump and his cronies, amongst other atrocities, will attempt to turn the clock back even further. He is a dangerous fascist and just yesterday sent his press officer Spicer out to harang the press and threaten them. We are surely back in 1930’s with that one. Not to mention trying to distort visual evidence of the small crowd at his inauguration…I guess the crowd matches the size of his…… No too cheap!

    • Yes it is, isn’t it? My girls both went to girls only middle schools, state schools with strong stem courses, and i think that helped although we were lucky the school was there.

  7. What an amazing day. Loved reading this.

  8. It was so heartening to see the coverage of the rallies all over the world. The official march was called off in Chicago after the estimated 50,000 turned out to be 250,000+, but we marched through the Loop just the same. It was one of the best crowds I’ve ever been with–and I would estimate that about a third of it was men. We have so much hard work ahead of us, but this was an amazing start.

  9. So glad to see the London march was so magnificent 🙂 I went over to DC from London (originally via Chicago by birth) to be in the thick of it. You have basically described the DC vibe perfectly. Which proves we are all the same, every one. Equality doesn’t recognize borders, nationalities, nor SFA. I’m knackered from the journey and energized beyond belief from the experience. Let’s roll. Let it SNOW!!

  10. I so wanted to go on the Dublin march, but my much-loved and rarely-seen son was visiting, so I didn’t. Wonderful to read your post, and it was AMAZING to see pix and feedback from marches all over the world. Donald Trump, put that in your pipe and smoke it – or better still, stick it up your arse! Even a spoiled, narcissistic brat of a child like him can’t fail to realize that he’s not everyone’s flavour of the month – and even if he only has a nasty, sneaking suspicion of it when he’s alone in the loo – that’s a start!

    • He must be getting very fed up now of not being adored everywhere he goes. He’s now beginning to insinuate that we were all paid to attend the marches. If only!

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