What the Women’s March on Washington Meant to Me

Equality is sometimes mislabeled as wanting extra benefits for being a woman, non-white, LGBTQ, non-Christian, and more. But that is simply not what equality means. It means plain and simple to be treated as equals. The same rights. Not extra rights…just identical rights.

I had an experience in my 20’s that keeps coming to mind over the last six months or so. I was a VP of sales and marketing for a good company out in Utah. I had the opportunity to write the sales training manual that they still use today. When I penned the manual every time I mentioned gender I used “She” or “Her”. I did it with a bit of a chip on my shoulder because on a regular basis I was treated as less because I was not just a woman in the workforce but a young woman. I could go on about the massive amounts of sexual harassment from men in business but that’s not where I’m going with this. So, I put together the training materials. Enter my sales force.

While I did get some women who applied for and did well in sales the majority of my sales force during my years with the company were men. With every person who came on my team, I trained them personally. Part of this included reading out loud from parts of the manual I had created. Without exception (and I realize this is hardly a scientific study) every man as he read aloud changed the words “Her” and “She” to “Him” and “His”. I did I mental fist pump every time this happened. Not because I’m a jerk but because I saw what was happening.

The men weren’t pouting. They were not being overly sensitive. They were not being whiny bitches. The only wanted to feel included. They wanted equality. For that brief moment during training, even though I never pointed it out to any of them, they knew what I felt when I read all the sales books about men with no thought for women in business.

I will admit that in writing materials there is a lot more of inclusiveness for women these days. But that isn’t the only issue. This isn’t about training manuals it’s about being included. Wholly. Same pay for the same work. You don’t tell men to smile more or be less shrill in the office. Why then is that so common for women to hear? We want to be treated fairly and it’s not just us.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: General view of the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/FilmMagic)

LGBTQ people don’t want extra rights. They want the same rights as everyone else. They want to be able to hold hands or kiss in public and have it be no big deal the way it is with same-sex couples. They want to get married, have tax benefits, and health benefits together. To have families. This is not extra it’s equal.

Black lives do matter. Nowhere in that phrase does it say “MORE”. It’s a statement that they want to feel the same worry a white person does when they get pulled over by the police. They want their biggest fear in that situation to be “Oh damn, I might get a ticket!” not “Oh God, I might die right now!”

Women’s rights are human rights. LGBTQ rights are human rights. Black Lives Matter is human rights. Non-Christian rights are human rights. Mental health rights are human rights. And the list goes on.

Equality isn’t about favoritism. Getting extra because of your skin color, gender, or sexual identity. It’s being seen as a human being and being treated like one. This is what the march was about for me on Saturday. It’s why I wish so hard I could have been at the one here in Chicago. If you follow me on twitter you know I was in the ER Friday night with severe bronchitis and can’t leave the house for a bit. But I was there in spirit and supported everyone with their myriad of reasons for marching.

Did you march? Do you know people who did? Half my family did and I am so proud of them for being part of history being made. A lot of my friends marched as well and I am grateful to them for standing up when I couldn’t. I’m grateful to all the men and women who marched yesterday. It meant so much to me!

Finally, now that the march is over it doesn’t mean our work is done. Here is a great link for 100 actions in 100 days. The first of which is to write a letter to your senator. I’m committed to doing this and I hope you will check it out too.

I know many of my readers are authors and equality is an important aspect to write into our stories.  There are so many things we can all do. Let’s stand up for one another and make this world a better place. Thanks for reading. I look forward, as always, to continuing the discussion in the comments section. Let your voice be heard below! Thanks for reading!

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14 Comments

  1. I wish I could have marched in the UK but sadly I don’t live anywhere near any of the cities that took part but I’m thankful to all that did. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and nodded along to it all. Thanks for joining the #weekendblogshare

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    February 10, 2017
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    • Amy Laurel said:

      Thanks so much for reading, Hannah! I’m glad it resonated with you.

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      February 10, 2017
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  2. I marched in Edinburgh, Scotland. My favourite banner that I saw was: Grab Patriarchy by the Balls – being carried by a man!

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    January 28, 2017
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    • Amy Laurel said:

      Awesome!!

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      January 29, 2017
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  3. Suzanne said:

    Amy,

    As you know I marched in Park City Utah. I had our mom there and my 15 year old son. Mom was not going to miss this. There was every excuse not to go. We had to leave super early and drive through the canyon. It was snowing like crazy – but none of us wanted to miss this. And I’m so glad I didn’t.

    The feeling at the march was one of community and support. There were many reasons why people were marching, but there was an underlying message of – I’m your sister and I will support you for whatever reason you are here.

    I love the book, Feminist Fight Club. They mention in the book how women don’t always have each others backs. There is the competitiveness that honestly needs to stop if we as a gender are going to progress any further. We need to love and support eachother and stand tall for eachother when someone tries to come after one of us.

    Theat was the feeling at the march. And it was an incredible high. I didn’t want it to end. And there weren’t just women. There were a lot of men. There were a lot of kids. It was beautiful.

    It was inspiring to see how many caring and supportive people are all around us that we may not have realized.

    Or, Love Actually, is all around us.

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    January 24, 2017
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    • Amy Laurel said:

      I’m so proud that you three marched! Thanks for marching and thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, Suzanne. I’ve heard from so many people the feeling of hope that was at each of these events and it fills me with hope too.

      Thanks!

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      January 24, 2017
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  4. Elizabeth said:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I love hearing why everyone marched 🙂 And I think it’s wonderful that you included a link for the 100 actions in 100 days. The marches were fantastic, but we need to make sure we keep the momentum going!

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    January 24, 2017
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    • Amy Laurel said:

      Thanks Elizabeth! I appreciate you commenting.

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      January 24, 2017
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  5. Wonderful post. I’m male but a ‘rolling quad’ that believes in equal rights for all. Snowed in here in Idaho but my spirit was with the marchers, in the US where I’m now resident, in the UK where I’m a citizen, and worldwide,

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    January 24, 2017
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    • Amy Laurel said:

      Thanks Roland! It was wonderful to see do much diversity in the march. Thanks for reading. Stay warm!

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      January 24, 2017
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  6. Kathie said:

    Beautifully expressed, Amy! What happened on Saturday is nothing short of phenomenal — to have over 650 rallies/marches in support of equal rights here in the US as well as on every continent in the world means we are not alone!!! And what made me tear up was seeing so many fathers, sons, husbands, male friends & children who marched alongside them in support…and peacefully, no arrests!!!

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    January 23, 2017
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    • Amy Laurel said:

      Yes! It was the best and most hopeful I’ve felt since the election!

      xo

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      January 23, 2017
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  7. Delia said:

    Well said! I was in DC myself, with my daughter and our friend, with my bad knees and my poor balance, and though it was exhausting I was very glad I was part of it. I have lived long enough to know that we won’t get equal treatment if we don’t do something to get it.

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    January 23, 2017
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    • Amy Laurel said:

      Delia,
      All I can say is thank you so much for marching for those of us who couldn’t! Thanks for reading!

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      January 23, 2017
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