In the early 1970s, a commercial produced by a fledgling tobacco company aired what would become a highly popular commercial telling women, “You’ve come a long way baby” – citing the fact that they had finally gotten their own cigarette. Of course, little was said about the inevitable increase of women who would join countless numbers of men who would one day suffer from debilitating illnesses, significant health challenges and even deaths that could all be attributed to smoking.
Negatives aside, the branding effort posed how women were getting closer to achieving success in the long-fought battle for equality with men, gaining greater access to jobs and other opportunities and even invitations to hallowed venues formerly limited only to men.
And when an estimated 200,000 mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and “sister-girls” descend upon the District on Saturday, Jan. 21 to participate in the Women’s March on Washington, organizers say they’ll be speaking to all levels of government with a host of issues and concerns, illustrating that they haven’t come far enough.
And while there isn’t one cohesive message for Congress, the new president or the Supreme Court, it’s fairly obvious that this new wave of activist-minded women and their supporters want to make it clear that they will do whatever it takes to maintain the rights they’ve already achieved, most notably reproductive rights. But they’ll also be addressing an unfinished agenda of demands for which women have long fought including equal pay, economic justice and affordable child care.
One of the march’s co-chairs, Tamika Mallory, emphasizes that they aren’t coming together for an anti-Trump event, nothing that “Trump is not the disease but he is a symptom.”
She further says that the national march will correspond with other protests taking place simultaneously at the local level in cities around the U.S. And when the day ends, they plan to make good on the notion that “politics is local,” utilizing grass-roots tactics back in their hometowns rather than looking to Congress to bring about change.
Given the ineptitude and inertia that have become the norm in Congress, these women may be on to something.