Words and photos by Laurén Du Bignon

The strive for equality, in every sense of the word, is a battle we have been taking part in for quite some time now. The need for equality pairs with the need for freedom to express; freedom to be who you are as an individual. This transgresses into the push for gender equality. I attended the March4Women early last month and someone had a banner quoting; “Gender equality is not a woman’s issue, it is a human issue”. I thought about how powerful that quote is, and the message it portrays to each individual. The need for gender equality does not just affect those marching for it, those in need for change, it also affects the human race as a whole. Humanity needs equality to move forward, to unite as a race and gain solidarity.

The rush of adrenaline and feeling a part of something at this march was euphoric, unlike anything I have ever experienced before. The feeling of unison and strength in our masses as we marched and chanted “Women’s rights are human rights”, was uplifting. It made me feel strong, and unstoppable in ascertaining my goals. I would recommend that everyone marches for something they are passionate about at least once, because the feeling is like no other. Imagine being surrounded by fellow-minded people, that share your passions and would be happy to discuss those passions as much as you would. Maybe because I always have my head stuck in a book that I daydream about being surrounded by people that have passions and are not afraid to show them, or maybe it is because I do not see enough of these people around that I crave people to be more open with their beliefs, to no be afraid to shout from the roof-tops how they feel about something. What is stopping you from having your opinion and welcoming someone else’s, even if it does challenge your own? That is how we learn and grow, and it is people that are willing to explore new avenues of discussion and be more open minded that will unite us together and bring about a change for the better.

Gender equality is a fight that has been going on for a very long time; think back to those who marched before us to gain the vote for women, The Suffragettes. They made sacrifices to prevent us from making sacrifices today, in the name of equality. They fought for us to have equality of the sexes and yet we still aren’t quite there. At the march, some people were angry that we still need to protest for equality after all this time.

However, it made me think about what we can do to utilise these protests before us. It made me think about who's making a difference now, and who will be marching for our future generations. We can stand up for what we believe in without being afraid of others disagreeing but rather, welcome the disagreement to encourage discussion where you can put your point across and learn something.

Women can be grateful when they go to work knowing that the Suffragettes and the war movement meant we were no longer seen as just housewives. When the time comes, use your vote because women had to fight for the privilege to do so. And, finally, think of yourself as an equal, because until you hold yourself proudly change will be a harder battle. Be proud of who you are and make sure everyone knows it.

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