Despite the freezing conditions, thousands turned out for the protest outside Downing Street.
If you had to pick a day to march through central London, a wet, freezing Sunday in the darkest depths of January would probably not be your first choice. But people turned out in their thousands for the Time’s Up Women’s March in London on Sunday, with a mood that remained buoyantly defiant even as rain and snow fell from the sky.
In fact, the bleak weather was almost symbolic: a reminder that adverse conditions have never stopped women fighting for their rights. Held on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration and the first international Women’s Marches, the rally was named in honour of Time’s Up – the movement against workplace sexual harassment launched by women in Hollywood earlier this month.
Unsurprisingly, many of the signs carried at the rally bore references to sexual abuse, consent and a woman’s right to control and defend her own body. But there was a wide range of other issues being protested and championed here too, from abortion rights to intersectionality and plain anti-Trumpism.
Below are some of our favourite funny, wise and downright furious signs from the march.
Perhaps aware of the social media cachet of a cute pup (or simply killing two birds with one stone and using the Women’s March as their daily dog walk), many women were accompanied with a four-legged friend. And very smart they looked in their placards, too.
Some women came dressed in full Suffragette regalia, a nod to this year being the 100th anniversary of partial women’s suffrage in the UK. To paraphrase another iconic protest sign, can you believe we’re still having to protest this s**t?
In the spirit of the Time’s Up movement, many placards were a yell of defiance in the face of sexual harassment and violence against women.
Other signs were bold and optimistic about the power of women, and the prospect of better days to come. (We particularly liked the sign referencing US politician Maxine Waters’ viral slogan, “Reclaiming my time.”)
Several women carried banners referencing abortion rights in Ireland. The Repeal the 8th campaign against Ireland’s eighth amendment – which criminalises all abortions except those that would save a woman’s life – is set to reach a fever pitch this year, as the country gears up for a referendum on legalising abortion. (In the red sign in the left of the photo below, the Irish word mná means “women”)
One woman held up a placard honouring Recy Taylor, an African-American woman born in Alabama in 1919. At the age of 25, Taylor was kidnapped while leaving church and raped by six white men. Two all-white juries declined to indict her assailants, and the men were never charged. Oprah Winfrey paid tribute to Taylor in her Golden Globes acceptance speech earlier this month, highlighting the way she had to fight against both racism and sexism in order to get justice (the state of Alabama formally apologised to Taylor in 2011).
The idea of the importance of intersectionality was seen elsewhere at the Time’s Up rally: many signs referenced race and immigration issues, and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race author Renni Eddo-Lodge delivered a powerful speech.
But one of our favourite signs of the day had to be this one, which – like all the best protest banners – was simple, direct and guaranteed to raise a smile.
Images: Rex Features