The Women's March on Washington set off at 10am EST Saturday in Washington, D.C. Responding to the frightening rhetoric of the past election, the marchers are demonstrating a show of solidarity "in numbers too great to ignore," the organizers write, to fight for human rights and inclusive communities.
Nisha Varia, Women's Rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, explained why this march feels so important to so many:
Today, along with my sisters, nieces, colleagues, and friends, I will join the Women's March on Washington, DC. I’m marching for us all, including my baby daughter. It will be the first night I spend away from her since her birth. That's how important this march is.
In my time at Human Rights Watch, I have interviewed hundreds of women who have experienced everyday humiliations and horrific abuses in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Indonesia, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore. These have included domestic workers who were locked, unpaid, and beaten in their workplaces for years. In my personal life in the United States, I have listened to friends describe painful histories of sexual abuse at the hands of parents, men they dated, and strangers. Sexual harassment and stereotyping have constantly intruded into my own life.
"In that same time," Varia continues," I have seen the dignity and strength with which survivors of abuse have moved forward. I have seen scrappy grassroots women's organizations grow in reach and impact. I have seen how women and men, civil society organizations, the press, and governments can work together to put in place key protections to safeguard women's rights."