On Jan. 21, just one day after President Donald Trump was sworn into office, women gathered together in cities all over the world and protested in an event they called the “Women’s March.” Dianne Watts, a researcher for the REAL Women of Canada chose not to march that day. She felt her views were not represented, supported, or welcomed. “The women who claim to represent women at these marches, don’t really represent women. They represent a section of society,” Watts says. She’s not alone. Many women believe their ideals weren’t represented in the march and as a result, they were never really invited to participate.
Johanne Brownrigg, a lobbyist from Campaign Life Coalition in Ottawa, says she didn’t march due to the “pro-abortion agenda.” She says, “The organizers of the march made it very clear what they were looking to achieve and certainly the march didn’t represent any of my values in that way.” She continues, “The march was organized by radical, pro-abortion feminists and the organizations that fund them.”
Not only does the march not represent her ideals of womanhood, but Brownrigg believes she wouldn’t have been welcome because of her pro-life stance.
"Even if I had been invited I wouldn’t have felt welcome.”
The Women’s March official website maintains that the protest was not specific to the U.S. election, but that it served to defend women’s reproductive rights and minority women. It says, “Women’s March Global is a proactive international movement, not a U.S. election-specific protest per se, which has galvanized people to defend women's rights and those of others in response to the rising rhetoric of far-right populism around the world.”
The protests largely resulted in defense of Planned Parenthood, after President Trump’s promises to defund the organization once voted in.
Linda Sarsour, the national co-chair for the Women’s March in Washington listed the marches main objectives in an interview with MSNBC. She began, “First of all, hands off the Affordable Care Act. We need our health insurance. Hands off Planned Parenthood and our reproductive rights.”
Watts says the women who marched should speak their opinions, but the harm is that they claim to represent all women. She comments, “No women’s organizations can speak for everyone.”
A 2015 survey from Gallop Poll Social Series says that 44 percent of Americans are pro-life. A 2013 study for LifeCanada found that six in ten Canadians believed fetuses should receive some protection before the time of birth. Only 28 per cent of Canadians believed there should be no restrictions on abortion before birth.
Andrea Mrozek, a program director at Cardus, an Ottawa-based think-tank, doesn’t fall into the 28 per cent. She says she didn’t even consider attending the march because of its abortion agenda.
“It really does come down to: I’m a strong woman, I’m an empowered woman, I do all these things that feminist want - I am not pro-choice.”
For this reason, she believes she never would have been welcome at the march.
She also disagrees with the claim that abortion supports women, citing various psychological and medial research that support her views. “I’m really big on the life issue so I don’t really have a lot of time for this claim that abortion supports women. It does the exact opposite,” she responds.
She admits she has pro-life friends who attended the march, likely to share their message, but doesn’t think she would have been heard. “That’s not what got picked up or reported on,” she comments.