Started in 2017 as a protest against the inauguration of a president whose actions were offensive to many, the Women’s March, now in its third year, has gained momentum as an inclusive movement for civil rights. Officially advocating for the rights of women, immigrants, people of color and the LGBTQ community, the Women’s March has become a multi-faceted platform now recognized for its intersectionality. From acknowledging that women still make only 76 cents on the dollar in comparison with men’s wages, to connecting the dots between climate change and its effects in local communities, the Women’s March has become a salient movement for many civil rights struggles.
I had the privilege of marching this year in Nevada City, California with fellow impact investors, community leaders, filmmakers and environmental activists. While still organized as a protest, the tone of this year’s event—the third annual global march—was both practical and celebratory. Women and their male allies carried many creative, homemade signs and banners:
“Don’t wait for change, Be the change”
“The future is female”
"Looking at the next election with 2♀2♀ vision"
Some of the hand-painted signs called for access to a fair wage, and some for clean air or clean water. To be sure, the march was a call to action for a fair and sustainable economy on many levels.
The crowd on Broad Street in Nevada city chanted “The time is now and the place is here. Stand up, speak out with voices strong and clear.” Many connections were drawn between the Women’s March and the timing of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, linking his leadership in the fight for civil rights and today’s resurgence of activism across generations.
This year’s gathering offered the opportunity to celebrate the significant gains made in the 2018 elections, which saw more women and people of color elected to the U.S. Congress than ever before. And with four democratic women officially running for President, the focus was also on the upcoming 2020 elections. Increasing voter turnout and civic participation for all citizens—young and old—was a common thread across the national marches.
In California, where we marched, there was certainly an emphasis on the bright future ahead with many younger children participating, carrying sweet signs reading “I will change the world” and “Young king supporting queens.”
And what is the missing piece? Despite the intersectionality of this growing movement, without addressing our power as investors we are missing key levers for potential change. As I wrote in a previous post (originally published in Green Money Journal), it is time we put our feminism into our finances. Yes, it's absolutely important to peacefully protest, to lobby our congress representatives, to get out the vote, and yet, to make a loud, game changing statement, we also need to move our finances into alignment with the world that we want to see. Just as we seek out equal representation in government, we must also use our investor voices to invest into companies that have women in leadership, those that have women in mind when designing products and services, and those that offer paid family leave to their employees. By depositing our savings into our local banks that make loans to women and people of color led businesses, we are literally voting with our dollars.