At midday on Friday 20 January, Donald Trump will officially become the 45th president of the United States of America. For the next four years at least, we can expect the most powerful man in the world to be the very same man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women; the same man who has vowed to strip federal funding from reproductive healthcare; the same man who won an election thanks in large part to a rhetoric based on fear, hatred and division.
The day after this man is officially sworn into office, more than 200,000 people from across the US are expected to descend on the capital for the Women’s March on Washington in order to stand up for women’s rights – and, by extension, human rights. And in cities across the US and around the world, sister marches are taking place in solidarity.
Whether you care about what happens in America or not, we think we can all agree that our shared values of tolerance, diversity, dignity, equality and political freedom are worth protecting, defending and shouting about. So we’ll be at the Women’s March on London on Saturday 21 January – and we hope you’ll join us.
Here’s everything you need to know about the march in London. We’ll see you there…
Why should I come along?
This isn’t just about protesting Donald Trump. Neither is it an attempt to stop him taking office. “We’re not targeting Trump specifically. It’s much more about being proactive about women’s rights,” says Cassady Fendlay, one of the organisers of the Women’s March on Washington.
We asked Kimberly Espinel, one of the organisers of the Women’s March on London, why Stylist readers should take part. “We are at a pivotal time in history,” she says. “We can choose to stand back, be complacent and hide behind the anonymous comfort of our computers – or we speak up, take an active role in shaping our democracy and defend the things that matter most to us all, like [our] human rights, freedom, dignity, safety and the well-being of our planet, all of which have come under threat.”
And there’s no better way to do that, says Espinel, than by “coming together in solidarity with people all over the world who feel just like you feel – and making history in the process.”
When and where does the march start?
The Women’s March on London will assemble at 12pm on Saturday 21 January in front of the US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 2LQ.
Who can attend?
The march is women-led, but participants of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, ages and physical abilities are welcome.
Do I have to register?
While it’s not compulsory, attendees are strongly encouraged to register for the march (free of charge) here, so that organisers can get a clear idea of how many people to expect on the day.
What’s the timetable for the day?
- At 12.30pm the march will move off down Pall Mall in the direction of Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN – a distance of approximately two miles. You’ll have an hour and a half to cover a distance that can usually be covered in around 30 minutes, so feel free to take your time.
- Between 2pm and 3.30pm a rally will be held in Trafalgar Square. Confirmed speakers include activist Bianca Jagger, Labour MPs Yvette Cooper and Stella Creasy, executive director of UK Black Pride Lady Phyll, writer and comedian Sara Pascoe and actress Rebecca Hall.
Who’s backing the march?
We are! The Stylist team will be at the US embassy at Grosvenor Square at noon on Saturday, carrying a purple banner bearing the words “Women’s rights are human rights”. Do come and say hi – we’d love to have you marching alongside us.
But we’re far from the only ones supporting the march. Charities and political parties including Amnesty International, Womankind, the Women’s Equality Party and the Green Party are all official backers, while high-profile figures including Sharon Horgan, Ian McKellen and Alexa Chung have all said that they’ll be in attendance.
What should I wear?
Reports from the US suggest that yarn shops are running out of pink wool, as women dash to knit pink cat-eared hats (“Pussyhats”) ahead of the March on Washington. There doesn’t appear to be a similar unofficial dress code for the Women’s March on London – although if you happen to have a pink cat-eared beanie lying around, now might be the time to dig it out.
Wear comfortable, water-tight shoes and warm layers: the weather in London is expected to be dry but overcast and cold on Saturday, with the Met Office predicting temperatures between 3°C and 5°C at the time of the march. If you want to be on the safe side, bring a waterproof jacket with a hood, not a brolly. Umbrellas can be a bit of a faff in a crowd – and might obscure people’s painstakingly-crafted signs.
While we’re talking about signs… Should I make one? And more importantly, what should it say?
Signs aren’t mandatory, but marchers are encouraged to bring one if they like – the more inventive and visually arresting, the better. If you’re running low on placard inspiration, you can find striking graphics designed to be printed out free of charge and carried at the Women’s March on Washington here. Slogans include “Our bodies, our minds, our power” and “Hear our voice”.
For those whose tastes lean more towards the snarky and sarcastic, The Cut has a brilliant list of potential Women’s March sign quips here. (We like the simple but effective “Ugh”.) Or take inspiration from this woman spotted at the Black Monday abortion rights protests in Poland back in October:
Can I bring kids along?
Absolutely. There’ll be a designated children’s area beside the US embassy before the march begins, where young marchers can get their face painted, do arts and crafts and catch bubbles. Find out more information on marching with children here.
I’m disabled. Will I be able to attend?
The march organisers have striven to make it a positive and accessible environment for everyone. Assistance dogs are welcome, and all speeches will be interpreted into British Sign Language.
If you identify as disabled and/or have mobility difficulties, you might find it easier to access the start of the march via North Audley Street, where a team of dedicated volunteer stewards will show you to a viewing platform. Find more information here.
I need somewhere to stay in London for the night – what should I do?
The march organisers have created a Facebook page with links to suggested accommodation close to the route. You can also use it to connect with people to travel to and from London together.
I can’t make it to London on Saturday – how else can I follow the day’s events?
Stylist will be active on social media throughout the day, posting photos and updates from the march on Instagram and Twitter and streaming live from London on our Facebook page. You can follow other updates by searching the event hashtag #womensmarchlondon.
Images: iStock, Rex Features