By Emma Culp, Staff Writer —
Chattanooga will host its second annual Women’s March on Jan. 20 in support of the Women’s Rights Movement.
All across the nation for a second year, marches are being held to raise awareness and create conversation about the importance of women’s rights, including issues such as sexual violence and equal pay in the workplace. These marches are organized to create a space for women of all ethnicities, backgrounds and identities to gather in support of one another.
Approximately 500,000 women came together in Washington D.C. last year, marching to assert women’s rights, sparking smaller marches all across the nation.
The women’s march will take place at Coolidge Park where activists can walk side by side on the streets with friends, family and strangers all for the same purpose.
The Director of the UTC Women’s Center, Sara Peters, is thrilled that Chattanooga will host a second march after seeing the tremendous impact it had on the community last year.
“I think without that initial march we wouldn’t see the evolution into this movement we have had over the past year,” said Peters.
Madison Hughes, a sophomore from Nashville, Tenn., who attended the march last year, was overwhelmed by the amount of women who showed up to the march in support of each other.
“It’s so refreshing to see that large of a group of complete strangers all forgetting their differences and come together to support a cause we all agree on,” said Hughes.
The march will begin at 11 a.m., where attendees can find vendors and listen to musical guest Amber Fults. At noon, the 1.8-mile march will begin through downtown Chattanooga and conclude with entertainment after the walk is complete.
Hughes describes the women’s march not as a protest or riot, but something much more meaningful and something that allows women to come together for a united cause.
“To me, it’s more like a public statement to stand up for who you are whoever you are,” said Hughes.
According to news sources, such as the Washington Post and the New Yorker, some criticized the marches arguing the marches were non-inclusive to diverse groups of women coming from different identities and backgrounds.
“A lot of the women’s marches now are really trying to move away from things such as ‘pussy cats’…and being more deliberate about engaging women from a variety of different identities,” said Peters.
In addition to this, some women cannot afford transportation to these marches or take time off work to participate creating discussion on ways to allow more women to have access to the marches.
Peters believes there is still a long way to go in efforts to include women of all identities and backgrounds but is excited to see the progress women are making to have their voices be heard.
“I think the dialogue that’s been going on for the last year has definitely moved that in the right direction,” said Peters.
The walk will occur rain or shine and is conveniently located around restaurants, entertainment and the beautiful downtown scene Chattanooga has to offer. The march and activities are centered around Coolidge Park on Jan. 20.