noun: fem·i·nism \ ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm \
1 : the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities
2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
That’s the definition of feminism for students from Britannica’s sister site, Merriam-Webster. Our dictionary BFFs named “feminism” the 2017 Word of the Year because of many significant cultural events last year, but it was mainly driven by one thing: The Women’s March.
According to Merriam-Webster, “In the last weeks of January, feminism spiked following news coverage of the Women’s March on Washington, DC (and other related marches held around the country and internationally), and follow-up discussions regarding whether the march was feminist, and what kind of feminism was represented by organizers and attendees. The word was in the air.”
A civil rights demonstration in reaction to the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, “the march was initially scheduled to be held only in Washington, D.C., but ‘sister marches’ arose throughout the United States and numerous other countries,” says Encyclopaedia Britannica.
“According to some estimates, as many as 4.6 million people attended the various events in the United States, and it was widely believed to be the largest single-day demonstration in that country’s history.”
As a follow-up to the historic gatherings, and on the heels of cultural waves like the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the organizers of the original march have anniversary actions planned for this year that could well make this event an annual one.
“The national voter registration tour will target swing states to register new voters, engage impacted communities, harness our collective energy to advocate for policies and candidates that reflect our values, and collaborate with our partners to elect more women and progressives candidates to office,” reads a statement on the official Women’s March site.
“The coordinated campaign will build upon Women’s March’s ongoing work uplifting the voices and campaigns of the nation’s most marginalized communities to create transformative social and political change.”
The current tide of women-led protests follows a historic tradition of women’s movements in the U.S. To make this trending topic relevant for your students, try these classroom activities we designed last year for Women’s History Month, that use ImageQuest images as primary sources:
Tried this with your class? How did it go? Tweet us feedback to @BritannicaLearn.
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