Letter: The fight for women’s rights is far from over

By Opinion & Editorial Staff

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

With a new presidential administration threatening to take away what progressives have fought tooth and nail to achieve, there is no time to rest. Turnouts at the international Women’s Marches on Jan. 21 were impressive and inspiring, but just showing up once is not enough. Resistance must be continuous to be successful. There are two approaches to making change: legislatively and socially. Progress on one front is useless without progress on the other.

On the legislative front, the current speaker of the house Paul Ryan has promised to defund Planned Parenthood. This action will not only restrict abortion access but will also restrict access to contraceptives, screening for STDs, cancer and health and wellness education. In opposition, Americans have been showing their support for Planned Parenthood through monetary donations and calls to legislators.

Harder to oppose are the messages that the White House is sending implicitly. Our president has sexual assault allegations against him and has explicitly joked about it. He has made lewd and demeaning comments about women’s appearances. If this is accepted as normal, what are we telling women? That it is okay to be treated like objects? What are we telling men? That it is fine to rape or joke about it? To counteract this message, we need to reaffirm women’s worth and we need to condemn sexist rhetoric in our day-to-day lives. The values of the Oval Office may be anti-woman, but that doesn’t mean we must accept it.

There is an opportunity coming up here on campus to show your support for women’s rights and liberation. Wednesday, March 8, is International Women’s Day and the Coalition to Resist Trump’s Policies at UMass is leading a march. It will begin at noon outside the Fine Arts Center and conclude at the lawn between the Student Union and the Integrative Learning Center. That night, at 7 p.m. at the Campus Center, there will be an informational panel about women’s resistance. Consider going to these events to show your support for women, and continue to resist the oppressive policies and rhetoric from the Trump administration.

Sincerely,

Olivia Comeau