family love wellness

Hear Us Roar: Reflections on the Women’s March

It’s been one year since the 2017 Women’s March. Last year following January 21, 2017, I  could hear rumblings and tremors in the air for what felt like months. The earth felt like it was in the midst of an aftershock. Unlike a lot of causes where there is excitement followed by a lull, the Women’s March fueled and fanned a conflagration.  It ignited voices, hearts, feelings, passions, and unity. So when it came to this year’s Women’s March, I knew, rain or shine, there was no way I was going to miss it.

This past weekend was the second annual Women’s March and If you’ve been following along you know that my family and I have been in Vancouver, B.C. So, being in Vancouver, I trekked out in the rain, to march alongside many women (and men) who went out to protest the current state of affairs that challenge reproductive rights, immigration rights, LGBTQ rights, equal pay, gender equality–the list goes on.

Last year, while 8 months pregnant with our first daughter, I marched for her rights. I marched for her voice. I marched for her protection. I marched that she be heard.  I marched for her sexuality. I marched for her choices. It was like every step was a mantra.  And what’s crazy is that I wasn’t alone. Somehow, in the middle of living in a country that felt more divided than ever, many of us chose to stand more united than ever. In a time that felt riddled by confusion, anger, and darkness, we were presented with a monumental possibility: the opportunity to thrust forth change, eradicate the heavily unbalanced constructs of the past, pioneer change, and radiate light. We all marched hand in hand, men and women, boys and girls.

Like last year, the march was more than millions of people hitting the streets to demand social change. It was the first call to action, bringing people together from all over the world to champion a notion that to me, just seems so simple: equality for all. For those of you who know me, you know this cause is dear to my heart. I’m all for female empowerment, human rights, LGBTQ rights–because love is love, and fair is fair. With 2017, I was hopeful for change but unsure of the outcome. This weekend, we were reminded that we are heard.

Somehow, reflecting over the past year, I am even more optimistic and filled with an even greater willingness to fight and—dare I say it?—filled with greater a sense of hope. Intrepid hope, even. It may have taken an incredibly confusing (and rather infuriating) political climate to encourage us all over the country (and globe) to take part in what was likely the largest single-day demonstration in American history. Seeing and feeling the impact was a visceral, life-changing experience. It filled me with a deep sense of solidarity, power, and possibility–one that I have possibly never felt so strongly. And since then, our voices have brought our collective shame and pain from behind the shadows openly into the light. With every story and every truth, we have a choice: we must not carry this shame and deafening silence with us through our lives.  We can’t let it only exist in the privacy of our therapists’ offices or into public arenas where we are doubted, paid off, threatened, or emotionally abused into silence.  

This year, we march to solidify that the “look-the-other-way” approach to sexual harassment is no longer a norm, but a crime that will not be tolerated. We march to exist as voices for women and people who do not have another choice but to stay silent due to lack of resources, education, and the confidence to know that there is another way. This year, we march with our heads and our fists held high that our former shame has been replaced by boundless PRIDE.

And for all of that, I feel grateful. But my experience isn’t unique. For so many women, this past year has been extraordinary—and volatile. So, I gathered five reasons to march forth in solidarity.

Here are 5 reasons to March On:

Because Feminism Promotes Equality

Feminism doesn’t strive for women’s equality to men; it strives for all sexes to be equal on all playing fields. Feminism is inclusive. Women are still underrepresented in most leadership roles and receive less pay. Vancouver, and all cities participating in the march, want to change that. The march is not only for women, but for all those who support equality, inclusion, and intersectionality. Feminism promotes change.

Because The March Brings People Together

Like I said, the Women’s March is for everyone. The march is a place for people of all races, genders, and religions to come together to fight for equality. If you believe in equality, you are a feminist–whether you are a man or a woman.

Because It’s A Good Message For Children

Children are like sponges; they soak up their surroundings as well as new ideas. I love that parents bring their kids to the march. It teaches them the importance of equality, both for the country and the world. When children see others fight for equal rights, ideals of inclusivity can grow and persist through the next generation.

Because Marginalized Voices Need to Be Heard

The march is a great forum not only for activists but for all voices to be heard. It gives an open platform where those who are underrepresented can speak openly on social and human rights issues. The march is a place to discuss, a place to listen, and a place to unite.

Because Now is the Time to Move the Needle

The conversation about equal rights is just beginning. 2018 is the year of #METOO and #TIMESUP. For so long, women were too afraid to speak up, but because of a few brave souls, we are now being heard. There’s a new energy behind the movement that is gaining momentum every day. The louder we are, the more support will show up in the form of media, projects, support teams, and organizations.

What do you march for? I’d love to hear about your experiences…tell me in the comments! 




All Photography by Angela Doran

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  • Jamile

    In my city we don’t have the march, but I believe in equality and I fight for this. ?????????

    • Jamile

      Also, you inspire me so much Gen! I working to be a strong woman like you❤

    • Anso

      I live in a small town in Sweden and unfortunately there was no march here but if it had been i would be the first one there, equality and the right to make free choices about our lives and well-being is fundamental to realize our Human Rights…such a simple concept really but so hard for some people to understand. Sweden is a good country to live in, in terms of legal equality and rights. However, it is also a country were nazists demonstrate openly on the streets, were PRIDE parades has to have police protection, were nationalism is on the rise, were women and girls in the audience at concerts are sexually harassed and raped and were everyday women and children are victims of domestic violence, having worked at a women’s shelter i have seen this first hand. It is important that we do not forget that no matter how far we have come we have to keep fighting until every single person can enjoy equality both socially and legally, keep it up!

  • Christelle

    Beautiful post! In Belgium, we didn’t walk but I thought a lot about the different cities in the USA and Canada that did the women march.
    Today even more than before, I think it is important to remember that women are equal to men and that they must be encouraged and respected.
    It is important to instill these values in children; to tell them to be caring, respectful and encouraging to everyone without judgment.
    It is necessary to show them the voice, to open the way for them and these marchs contribute to it.
    2018 is the year of #metoo and #timesup as you put it so well.
    Let’s continue with this! Everyone has the right to respect, to listen, to care and kindness, regardless of sexual orientation or life choices.
    Thank you for sharing Gen

    • Khushi

      You’re awesome Christelle.

  • Nay Cantero

    My mother raised three women by herself. She never needed anyone’s help. She never asked anyone for help. She knew that she was strong enough to do it.
    I have met women who believed (and women who still believe) that without their husbands or without a man in their lives, they can’t do anything. That is very sad.
    I am almost eighteen and I am very sure of this: what I have achieved in life and what I will achieve, I will do it fighting for my rights. For our equality rights.
    The world has to know that we are all equal, that we all feel, breathe and live. The world has to realize that all of us, as women, deserve our rights. And we will continue fighting for them.
    P. S. beautiful post, I love it!!!

  • Mikayla

    I was in Austin this past weekend for the March but unfortunately couldn’t partake because my anxiety would have acted up too much ? But i am a supporter becauseI refuse to allow my little sister to grow up in a world where she is taught to be afraid. She is being raised to breathe fire and shatter glass ceilings.

    • Isabel

      your sister is lucky to have a big sis like you

  • Alesia

    I love this. I don’t March due to health reasons, but I truly believe in equal rights. Equal pay, equal time, equal love. I agree with you love is love. 2018 has to be the voice of women, the voice of political change, The Voice I’m reason. We are a country divided, and we need bring back a united front. You are so inspiring Gen. The love you share, and the love that you show your family, your friends, and just ordinary people. I am inspired more everyday to stand up and fight. Not physically, but emotionally, and mentally, with pride.

  • Maya

    As a 16 year old living in Argentina, and due to the actual government, discussing such strong topics can be difficult. But because of the unity and sorority shown by women all over the country, an enormous visualization has been brought to those who are afraid to speak up

  • Ariana Preis

    This was so beautifully written, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t march this year due to various health issues, but I did last year. I march for my mom, who hasn’t been able to teach because of illnesses that are severely under-researched, who has to wait 20 months for a social security disability hearing. I march for my nieces, who are 9 years old and already feel the pressure of needing to be beautiful, for the one who ‘wants to be a boy’ but doesn’t completely understand why. I march for all my trans friends, who are so often in danger, just by doing something as simple as using a public restroom, or telling their parents who they truly are. I march for all the women who can’t speak because they have been silenced permanently. And I march for myself, because it is my body, no one else’s, because until a few months ago, I didn’t realize that I’ve been a part of the #MeToo movement since my freshman year of high school. I march because I can’t afford not to.

  • Ro

    In Argentina, or at least in the part where I live there’s no march but from here I support every people who’s a part of it, cause we are all equals and we all need to be heard from here I raise my fists for these cause, for all of us to be heard!?️‍?✊?✊?✊?✊?✊??️‍?

  • Khushi

    I dont have any sisters. All i have is a little brother. Where i live, there are no marches for miles. I know sexists, human right violators and racists. And as someonne who isn’t exactly “straight”, i know people, some of which are my own friends, who would hate me if I came out. And all I can do at times, is think about how to raise my brother in a world where he wont be ashamed or have to hide the fact that his sister is gay. He still doesn’t know, nor do my parents. Everyday, i have emotional breakdowns. Not because of who i am, but because of the fact that I’m keeping this in. But reading this, I know there are people who are with me, even if i dont know them, i know I’m not in this alone.
    Thank you for being one of those people Gen.
    Means a lot.

  • Shandi

    My city doesn’t do anything like this. In the early 90’s when I was 14 I was raped and as I was being questioned by a female cop she was adamant that I was wearing skimpy clothes and being flirty. I was a Tom boy big tee shirts long shorts and didn’t know what flirting was. This is where I live and this is still this cities mindset that God gave woman small feel because the women belong behind the sink.
    Thank you Gen for everything you are doing. Xo

    • Khushi

      You’re a hero Shandi.

  • Wendy

    I didn’t get to march last year and this one because I was working, but I was there in my heart!
    Lgbta+ rights for healthcare, to serve in the military and against discrimination by our government (Federal and State) and businesses. The right to marry, adopt and have public displays of affection.
    Women’s right to choose, receive equal pay (I can’t believe we still have to fight this b.s.) and against sexual harassment in public, at work, or anyplace goddamn place else it happens.
    Freedom of religion for every individual, no matter what their religion, and a separation of CHURCH and STATE because there should be no laws made based on religious doctrine that do not support EVERY American.
    And (on a personal level) for the Federal government to put environmental protections back in place, to make stricter laws on businesses that harm the environment and the future of the planet (think of your kids when they grow up!)
    I have more, but those I have to save for another march!

  • Emilu

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Wendy

    I posted a lovely comment and either the blog lost it or you deleted it.
    Shame…I put alot of heart into it.

  • Wendy

    Never mind, now its showing up! Is Mercury in retrograde??

  • Kylie

    I simply want to say thank you for what you do, for being who you are, and for sharing this experience.

  • Meg

    They don’t march in my country but if they did I sure as hell would have!

  • Meg

    They don’t have a march in my country sadly

  • Dan

    This is so empowering, reading this makes me miss the march, where I live we have a march called #NiUnaMenos (means, not one less) standing for all the victims of abuse in my country, which is one per day, as you read, every day a girl goes missing and is found dead and abused 95% of the times, numbers are crazy and the media and the police blames the victim always “she was asking for it with those shorts/ that skirt/ that dress/ etc” I kid you not, that’s what news channels say. It’s awful. But posts like this, seeing that there are places in the world where you can march without being afraid that the police will lock you up, it gives me hope. It makes me wanna march more than ever. Makes me not feel alone.
    I love u Gen, keep up the good work, keep fighting.

  • Arrianna Tate

    I am so proud to see people come together and stand up for each other. In time where justice was being overlooked or exploited, it felt like there would be no end to this terror that we live in. To see numerous backgrounds in one place , yet at the same time ,so many places . I cried because Sam Cooke was right , a change is gonna come.

  • Alexandria

    Unlike you, Jen, I did not have a good experience the last time I marched at the Women’s March. As much as I would love to believe that the women at the march are there to march for equality, all I saw were women marching for the – what seem to be – superiority. There were women yelling in my face saying I was the “wrong march” because I went there to also march for the lives of the unborn children – male & FEMALE alike – & all I got was backlash because I was marching for the “same reason” as they did.. I was hearbrokened. I thought the women’s march was the empower ALL women even through our differences. But all I felt that day last year was hostility. I am pro-life but I am ALSO all for women’s rights. Unfortunately, to many women in our society, I can either be ALL in, or I am so-callednot a part of this “women empowerment”. 🙁

  • Evelyn

    I march so my daughter will grow up in a better world than I did; one where she’ll never have to say “me too”, or question why she’s underpaid in her chosen career, I want her to know her body is HERS and no one can tell her what to do with it or take away her right to choose what’s best for it. I want her to be proud of who she is, who she’s becoming, and who she wants to be.

    Thanks for marching, Gen, and for all these beautiful photos. The world is in dire need of feminists right now, so we all need to make sure we never stop demanding change.

  • Felix Woodall

    Hello! As a transgender male, female to male, I would’ve gone to the march, though sadly, I don’t live anywhere near that area. So, one day I will participate in one.

  • Kat Acker

    I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being so inspirational to all the women you reach with your blog. I look forward to every post! Unfortunatley, I was unable to make the march in my area but I kept up with it on social media handles; refreshing my browser as often as possible. I think it’s wonderful the way you are raising your sons and daughter. Thank you. <3

  • Kayson

    Gen you are a very big inspiration to I am only 14 and I look to you as a role model. You make me see the world different and helped me become brave to come out of my comfort zone and always be the bigger people.

  • Jay

    I marched in Memphis last year and Cincinnati this year. It was so powerful and moving for both years. It was uplifting to be in a place where we were all fighting for the same goals. It made the anger of the past year melt away and I felt positive for the first time since the previous March. I can’t wait for the day when I can tell my own (future) children that I fought for their human rights as well as my own in any way I could even before they were in existence. Thank you for participating also, Gen. Thank you to all who marched, who wanted to march but couldn’t and everyone in between. #TimesUp

  • Ali

    Marched in LA and wow, just amazed at how many turned up again to march! We are a movement, not a moment. Was wondering if you would be willing to make mention of #PowerToThePolls which was the big push at Women’s Marches in the US? We cannot change things if we don’t vote or aren’t registered to vote!!! Thank you for being so wonderful and a powerful ally to all!!

  • Fatima Ahmed

    Thank you for the inspiring piece of writing!!

  • Mercy Preces

    Gen, you are such an inspiration for us all!
    Thank you so much for opening up your beautiful heart and soul and for your willingness to not only share it with us but also for your being so honest! I love your blog and the way you involve your children. In all you do, like The March this past weekend. That was amazing! Thank you so very much, for ALL that you do for us, women!
    God Bless you and your beautiful family always????

  • Elena

    I want a world where my daughter is free to be herself. Where she can be strong willed and fight for her right to have what she wants and not seen as a trouble maker. I want her to feel safe anywhere she goes. I’m fighting for her future!

  • Devina

    I’m in Fairbanks, Alaska and we had a women’s march. My boyfriend eagerly joined me. It was my first women’s march but not my first time marching for equal rights. It was -6° F but the cold didn’t matter. It’ll all about fighting for what’s right and what you believe in. Take action and stand up for what’s right. Thank you Gen for supporting and trying to make the world a better place by raising one
    Voice at a time. ???????????????

  • Larkin

    Wonderful photos. Your words carry so much weight and inspiration. They made me tear up, but in a good way. Along with all of the people who marched, your words made me feel hopeful when so much of what we see now is hopeless and volatile. Every step taken is just that: another step. Thanks?very well done.

  • Genie

    Thank you for your elegant support of the strive for equality!! We marched in our small town with a diverse age group of men, women & children. It gives me hope that in the campaigns of 2018 there will be support for equality for all and we will all participate in the electoral process!!!

  • T Esplin

    I’m glad we live in a country where our voices count. I am a woman, and I have never felt supressed. For those who do, I’m glad this works for them. I’m not a marcher, and have raised very strong, independent women. Amazing mothers. It’s good to let voices be heard. I have an amazing son, also. He helps protect our rights in this country, even when he disagrees with a stance.

    • T Esplin

      My girls have never let anyone shut them down. Or limit them in any way.

  • Kate

    I moved from Vancouver (Kitsilano) a small town in northern BC 19 months ago. Though I DO NOT miss Vancouver winter rain, the rental crisis, cost of living, or commuting on good `ol TransLink, it is events such as the Womens March which make me miss home. (Unfortunately, I can’t just hop the #44 express bus from 4th/Vine down to Burrard/Pender anymore! 1147 km/712 miles is one helluva commute! LOL!)

    The town where I now live (Smithers, BC) does not have a march. Even if it did, local rednecks and Bible thumpers would be out in full-force to shame pro-choice advocates, LGTBQ, and others whose views don’t align with their conservative, misogynist, homo/transphobic ones.

    RE: reproductive rights.
    2003-2006, I acted as a volunteer counsellor with at Planned Parenthood of BC’s clinic when it was at Vancouver General (it’s been at BC Women’s Hospital since 2007). Fact: in 2004, Planned Parenthood of BC changed their name to Options for Sexual Health because:

    1. George W. Bush was being re-elected in the States, and his conservative, Evangelical Christian, religious, pro-life platform highlighted how political Planned Parenthood of America (unfortunately) is affected and viewed by some. Canada’s reproductive laws and socialized healthcare system: very different and more progressive (as you know). Planned Parenthood in Canada is quite different than PPofA. Still, those who were unaware of the differences in Canada would equivocate Planned Parenthood of BC as providing abortions, not understanding that things are different per state with PP. of A. Threats and protests outside of Planned Parenthood of BC’s office in Burnaby, idiots picketing clinics at times … not realizing that Planned Parenthood of BC does not provide abortions (because it DOESN’T have to!). The name had to go because of the misconceptions and politics in the U.S.

    2. The name of Options for Sexual Health more aligned with the services that Planned Parenthood of BC offers: choices, options, education, screening, and treatment … for everyone, not just women.

    My heart goes out to those in the States who aren’t as fortunate to have the healthcare system and laws which are on their side. I realize that you and your hubby are from/live in liberal Austin, TX. Are you aware that Cecile Richards (head of Planned Parenthood of America) is the daughter of the late Ann Richards—former Democrat Party Governor of Texas? I don’t doubt that Ann Richards is rolling over in her grave to see what’s happening to women’s health in the U.S.

    True story: while at The Regal Beagle pub (West Broadway/Yew Street in Kitsilano) circa 2003, I met a guy who was very clearly on the make, trying to pick up a pick of ass to take home for the night. He asked me what I did in my spare time, so I told him that I volunteered with Planned Parenthood of BC. “I think I picketed in front of their offices before. I’m a Catholic. Planned Parenthood provides abortions which I’m against.”

    (no, they do not provide abortions; they don’t have to)

    “Oh, well they provide birth control which is against my religion too.”

    I asked him if he was sexually active (yes), and what he would do to prevent the transmission of infection, disease, and pregnancy. “I’d be HAPPY if pregnancy happened, even accidentally! It’s the Lord’s will. I don’t use condoms because it’s a form of contraception. I pull-out and pray! I can go to confession to be forgiven for the sin of lust.”

    Really, he said that to me. I walked away, and he patted my ass.


  • Kate

    P.S. Are you aware that the BC government has (as of January 15) made the pregnancy termination drug, Mifegymiso, FREE? The drug can be used to terminate early-stage pregnancies of up to nine weeks.

    BC is the sixth province in Canada to offer this to women 🙂

  • Ruth

    “With every story and every truth, we have a choice: we must not carry this shame and deafening silence with us through our lives. We can’t let it only exist in the privacy of our therapists’ offices or into public arenas where we are doubted, paid off, threatened, or emotionally abused into silence. ”
    That hit me hard. Beautifully said, Gen. I still have the habit of holding things in and just vent in therapy sessions. But I’m slowly changing that. This movement gives me hope. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Isabel

    Dear Gen

    I don’t know where to start but I have to say; I adore you. You are so beautiful and your Aura keeps me speechless. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Stay who you are.

  • Racheal

    Thank you for being such a positive influence on people in general, but especially young people. I was a self abuser, because of experiences I had at a very young age, and I fought to overcome that for years. This movement is literally a fight for our lives. Thank you for being the beautuful, compassionate person that you are.

  • Racheal

    Thank you for being such a positive influence on people in general, but especially young people. I was a self abuser, because of experiences I had at a very young age, and I fought to overcome that for years. This movement is literally a fight for our lives. Thank you for being the beautiful, compassionate person that you are.

  • Laura

    Hi Gen! Very happy to see that you support the fight for women’s rights and equality. I wanted to ask you if you found out what happened here in Argentina, where despite a long and amazing campaign the Senate voted against the legalization of abortion, so many women will continue to do so in clandestine places putting their lives and their freedom at risk (abortion is punishable by law). What do you think about it?
    Big hug for you and your family

  • Kimberly

    Thank you so much for writing this! I love your writing style and found myself tearing up throughout the post. I sent an email to your gmail address expounding on this further and also asked you a question, one that I was hoping you would answer in your next blog post. I was hoping you could share your experiences of being an actress in the #MeToo era: What has changed and what has not in the industry since the movement began? If you ever felt coerced into doing something you didn’t want to do or that maybe you felt compromised your integrity? If you felt that the roles you were being offered really capitalized on your talents and skills or if you were being marginalized? Are better roles for women becoming available since #MeToo or is the industry slow to change? There are a few more questions and details in the email I sent you, so I hope you will read it (when you have the time). I’m really interested to hear your story and your insights!

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