Monday, 8 March 2010

Million Women Rise 2010

Say it once, say it again
No excuse for violent men! Say it once, say it loud We are women, we are proud!

A gloriously sunny (but pretty chilly) Saturday lunchtime saw thousands of women assemble at Marble Arch to join the Million Women Rise (MWR) march, which celebrates and honours “women’s activism, courage and achievements and continued struggle against global male violence in all its forms”. Women had come from as far afield as Cornwall, Scotland and Uganda to take part and all ages were well represented, from babies in prams to women in their nineties. It truly felt like the diversity of the women at the march reflected a wide spectrum of women’s experiences. As we marched down Oxford Street, to chants, songs and whistles, we drew support from the watching crowds of Saturday shoppers, with some smiling, others waving and some even joining the march itself.

Now in its third year, the march always has a fantastic atmosphere, as it’s a rare opportunity for women and women’s organisations to take over the streets and to have their voices heard. It’s always great to see so many of our member organisations continuing the fight for women’s equality and freedom from violence. In the two hours or so that it took us to reach the rally at Trafalgar Square, I’d pretty much chanted myself hoarse, but it was well worth it!

At the rally itself, there was a great range of inspirational women speakers, including Sabrina Qureshi (Founder of MWR), Vivienne Hayes (WRC CEO), Cath Elliott (union activist and journalist) and many other representatives from the women’s sector, both in the UK and internationally. While they all spoke on different topics, there was one overriding message – only through working together, through being sisters, can we hope to start winning the fight to end male violence against women in all its forms. Can’t wait until next year!

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