By Vicki Morris
The sixth “Million Women Rise” (MWR) demonstration in London on Saturday 9 March drew around 1,000 women. The march was lively, though smaller than last year’s. It included many contingents from migrant communities.
The official placards read “Together we can end male violence”, but the chants went an unrealistic step further adding “in our lifetime”.
The march assembled at Selfridges to march down Oxford Street, then through Soho before ending at Trafalgar Square. The march paused briefly in Soho since the sex trade is seen as a place especially symbolic of women’s oppression. The woman leading the march said the trade is full of women who have been “trafficked”, which eclipses the fact that many women prefer to do sex work to other sorts of work.
At the final rally, speakers reminded us of a founding belief of feminism, that boys and girls are not born with innate characteristics, but that male violence is learned. We have the capacity therefore to teach boys to respect girls and women and not to be violent.
Speakers from the trade union movement highlighted the drastic cuts to public services that women rely on, and to rape crisis and women’s refuge services specifically.