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Seattle Women's March
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Seattle Women’s March moves to coincide with International Women’s Day

Participants at the Seattle Women's March in 2018 at Cal Anderson Park. (Nicole Jennings)

From 2017 through last year, the sea of pink hats and female empowerment signs of the Seattle Women’s March have livened up dreary January skies.

But this year, for the first time, the Women’s March will coincide with International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8.

While other women’s marches around the world took place in January, coordinators of the Seattle march said this was a decision to direct the focus of the event away from President Trump and back to women. The original 2017 marches took place the day after President Trump’s inauguration, partly as a message of push-back against the president’s policies and comments about women.

“We made a conscious move to move away from Inauguration Day and the association with the 45th president, and actually center and celebrate and honor women all around the world,” march organizer Bianca Davis-Lovelace said. “Our intention this year is to be more intentional about focusing on women internationally, and the plights and the struggles and the joys and the celebrations of being a woman.”

Thousands attend Women’s March in Seattle

Additionally, the 2020 march gives a platform to women from marginalized communities. The leaders of the Seattle march this year are all women of color.

As women’s issues remain at the forefront of political discussions, the issues spotlighted by the Women’s March have evolved over the years. The proliferation of the #MeToo movement in late 2017 meant that breaking silence on sexual harassment and assault has been a major theme at the most recent marches.

“We are focusing on women’s rights, challenging rape culture — and that is a central part of the movement,” Davis-Lovelace said.

This year in particular, voting takes center stage. The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination includes two prominent female candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Additionally, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

“This is an important time of year because of the elections that are coming soon, so we want to make sure that we are focusing on things like voting rights … there is a lot of passion and focus around the upcoming election,” Davis-Lovelace said.

Other major themes this year include racial justice and economic justice — “the struggles that women are facing, of course being paid less than our male counterparts, and if you’re a woman of color, you’re paid even less,” Davis-Lovelace said.

The route this year changes, as well. While past marches started in Capitol Hill or the Central District and finished at Seattle Center, the 2020 march will begin at Beacon Hill Playground and end at City Hall Park downtown. Between 5,000 and 10,000 people are expected to turn out for the march.

If you’re not able to make it out on March 8 but want to lend your support to women’s rights, never fear — Davis-Lovelace said that there will be plenty more opportunities in 2020 to advocate for women in Seattle.

“We’re going to be very intentional as a coordinating committee of making sure that there are various events going on throughout the year that address women’s issues,” she said.

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