Article By Meghan Beakley
When millions of marchers across the country took to the streets the day after President Trump’s inauguration last year, many Americans were gripped with a feeling of unity and determination. The idea that this many Americans could stand together in support of a cause was undoubtedly impressive. On January 20, 2018, one year after the first Women’s March, demonstrators again took to the streets in several U.S. cities, including State College, to draw attention to many issues including women’s rights, immigration, the environment, and racial inequality.
Yet one year later, some believe we are in the same place as we were a year ago. Donald Trump is still our president and Congress is still trapped in the same partisan gridlock they always seem to be in. While there have been some advancements, we are still debating many of the same issues as last year with the addition of one key question: how much of an effect has the Women’s March movement had?
“I think people are more aware of the situations that surround women,” said Amanda Nurse, a freshman majoring in English at Penn State, “but I don’t know if I can think of any actual progress that has been made in government or the workplace.”
Nurse appears to be on to something. 2017 was a year filled with many setbacks for progressives. Republicans succeeded in changing the tax code, America withdrew from the Paris Agreement, President Trump’s travel ban was partially instated, and the repeal of DACA meant millions of “dreamers” could face deportation. America is seeing the effects of a sudden shift from eight years of progressive government to a far more conservative, isolationist ideology.
Nonetheless, there have been some victories for the Women’s March and its supporters.
Rachel Kennedy, a sophomore majoring in pre-med at Penn State, said, “I definitely think progress is being made. I think people are becoming more aware of the inequality in our society. Women are speaking out about sexual abuse, running for government positions, and demanding equal treatment in everything.”
The events Kennedy referred to can definitely be considered key victories for the Women’s March movement. Over the last year, the #MeToo initiative led to the unseating of several powerful media moguls and personalities who had harassed or abused women, a record number of women announced they would be running for office in 2018, and Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person to be elected to any U.S. legislature. These are just a few of the most high-profile achievements for women and their supporters.
Altogether, Women’s March supporters cannot call the last year a total loss. While there were setbacks to the liberal agenda, there were also several pivotal advancements.
“Americans are now starting to realize how deeply ingrained misogyny is in our culture.” Kennedy said. “There’s still a long way to go, but I think our recent progress should be celebrated.”
Feature Image Credit: Ilias Bartolini