Following the first wave of Women’s Marches around the world in January, there is a clear movement to be observed as more and more women take to their respective streets, squares and social media accounts to have their voice heard. On Saturday I took part in the second Women’s March in Amsterdam (the first was in January, when I was watching from a distance while in a handball bubble in France), and it was inspiring to see and talk to the many different people making the most of the opportunity to use their voice.
There were thousands of women, men and children there, and everyone I spoke to had a different story or motivation for taking part, with many important issues represented. For the Dutch one important subject is the upcoming elections, and the many signs against hatred, racism and promoting the female politicians running give some hope.
Evelyn: “I stand for solidarity and the second chamber elections are next week, and I think if we don’t open our voices a populist party will win next week. For me that’s not a solution, because he’s [Geert Wilders] spreading hatred.”
Mirte: “I work for an international women’s fund called Mama Cash, and at the previous march we just decided to bring the slogan ‘Pussies against patriarchy’. We put it on the [bike] seat covers so women also take this feeling after the march because it’s so important not just to march, but to take it out on the streets and spread it. We’re here with thousands, but it can’t stop after this.”
Janne: “I made this sign [‘Pussy is not an insult’] because it really annoys me that my friends – my female friends and my male friends – use ‘pussy’ as a negative thing. I think that it’s really strong to have a pussy and to be a woman, especially now in this age. That’s why I made this sign, to be clear, and I think everyone knows what I mean. I hope they learn a bit from my sign!”
Yannick: “I’m a part of Rood – the young organisation of the socialist party – and when you look at my sign: I’m against sexism, against racism, I’m against classism and I’m for intersectional feminism. Equal rights for everybody, no matter your gender, your sexuality, the colour of your skin. No matter your income – just equal rights for everybody. That’s why I’m here.”
Lieske: “I got inspired by my American friends after Trump’s election. They all marched so I was very proud that I picked the right friends! I decided I wanted to join a march in the Netherlands as well. I hope we will make the right decisions here in the elections, and in Europe, for him [gesturing at her baby son].”