Leibee: The Women’s Movement is not the most important priority right now

Katrina Leibee

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

People from all genders, races, ethnicities, sexualities and backgrounds took to the streets of cities for the Women’s March Jan. 19. Pink hats on and signs in the air, everyone came for their own purpose.

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There was even a march here in Denver.

However, the Women’s March this year should have been focused on protesting the government shutdown and immigration policy. Every man, woman and child that took to the streets should have been marching in unity behind the most relevant issues.

No matter what, the Women’s March has become an annual march in support of women’s, LGBTQ, reproductive rights and so much more that is outlined on their website

The first year the Women’s March happened, it was a direct response to the election of Donald Trump. The next year, the march was directed at the #MeToo movement, one of the most important issues going on at the time.

I participated in last year’s march, but this year, I found myself questioning what I would be marching for, as well as who I was marching with.

On the same day as the Women’s March, Donald Trump made an announcement on his plan for immigration and ending the government shutdown. The government was most likely focused on that, not the Women’s March.

On the same day that people took to the streets to fight for social progress, government workers remained without pay, children remained separated from their families at the border and migrants were faced with violence.

On the same day that people took to the streets to fight for social progress, government workers remained without pay, children remained separated from their families at the border and migrants were faced with violence.

This is not to say that the Women’s March is not valid and necessary. This year, however, not only was the government not paying attention to the Women’s March, the goals of the march were scattered.

The march asked the government to accomplish a number of goals and prioritize their larger social progress ideas, such as racial justice, LGBTQ rights and environmental justice to name a few.

Goals apart of the official women’s march agenda:

  • Ending violence against Women and Femmes
  • Ending State Violence
  • Reproductive Rights and Justice
  • Racial Justice
  • LGBTQA+ Rights
  • Immigrant Rights
  • Economic Justice and Worker’s Rights
  • Civil Rights and Liberties
  • Disability Rights
  • Environmental Justice

The march drew attention away from the issues the country was facing that were more urgent and pressing. 

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In addition to that, the leaders of the Women’s March faced charges of anti-semitism, and in response Jewish organizations and civil rights groups separated from them. In New York, the march was divided between two groups. 

This led me, and others who considered participating, to question just who we were marching with and who we were standing behind.

When I thought about taking part in the Women’s March this year, I wondered if it was fair of me, a white, privileged, upper-middle-class female to march alongside my family and friends for LGBTQ, reproductive and civil rights when on the same day people at the border remained separated from their families.

On the same day that I would be celebrating feminism and the success of women in the midterm elections, government workers learned that they were not going to be getting paid anytime soon and might not be able to feed their families that night.

I did not feel justified calling attention to my own social agenda in a time where other issues were more dire.

Every item on the agenda of the Women’s March is valid and important, and as feminists we should support the agenda of the Women’s March completely, but those items were not the most important things going on in the United States Jan 19th.

People took to the streets to ask the government to start making big social change towards the equal treatment of minorities and women, but the government could not do anything while it was shut down.

While those who marched may have had positive intentions in their participation, the march came across as tone deaf. It was unfair of women to march for economic justice and equal pay on the same day that government workers were not getting paid at all.

Katrina Leibee can be reached at letters@collegian.com or Twitter @KatrinaLeibee.