In 1776, Abigail Adams famously implored her husband and Founding Father, John Adams, to keep women in mind during the creation of this country.
“I long to hear that you have declared an independency – and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable [sic] to them than your ancestors,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
It’s a classic plea among women of history. And yet, domesticity was never a homogeneous hobby. Some women decided they needed to take their freedom into their own hands, especially Abigail Adams.
From the 1920s to 2000s, women’s marches allowed women to get out of the house and make their complaints heard. Approximately 4.1 million people marched for women’s rights in the U.S. on Jan. 21, 2017, according to research from University of Denver and University of Connecticut.
The women’s marches of 2019 thus far have failed to live up to that size – perhaps because the march has deep problems within its organization and purpose.
Recent controversy before the march on Jan. 19 made some women stay home, according to National Public Radio. Tamika Mallory, one of the women’s march leaders, was accused of anti-Semitism for her association with Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan is a leader of the Nation of Islam, which is considered a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center. Attendance might have dropped as a result of drama caused by the march’s leadership.
In addition to beliefs, the people who attend women’s marches have the time to participate and the resources to travel long distances to attend popular marching destinations. In Georgia, that destination is Atlanta, but supporters from all across the country head to Washington D.C. to march in the heart of the country.
The ability to march is a privilege not afforded to a sizeable group of women. Marching is not accessible to the women who need to partake in it the most – the working class women at or below the poverty line.
Even some middle-class women who can afford the time and energy to attend marches choose not to do so. Though no march has been called “The Leftist March” or “The Democratic March for Women,” many conservative women don’t see their beliefs reflected in the march’s liberal leaning goals, prompting them to forgo boosting march size with their attendance.
Not everyone can get what they want in this country. Those who do have the time, resources and loudest voices succeed in obtaining their goals. This is why the Civil Rights marches of the ‘60s have been so successful – and the country is better for those marches’ success.
But for women’s march sizes to improve in 2019, women’s marches will have to organize around what it originally set out to do: broadening the freedoms of all women in this country.