A Reason to March

By Alex MacLean

Before leaving the house on Election Day I told my two-year old daughter that by the time she woke up the next day we would have our first female President. That one day she too could be President or anything else she wanted to be. I went to the polls that day with a pronounced sense of hope and pride. I was proud to partake in the democratic process as I filled out the oval to break that elusive glass ceiling and elect the first female President in our history. A mere twelve hours later I felt nothing but despair and devastation.

Donald Trump’s presidency will likely be a disaster on a number of critical issues: minority rights, climate change, and international relations, just to name a few. But as a female and a mother of a young girl I just can’t come to terms with the fact that not only did we choose a dangerous egomaniac over the most qualified person ever to run for President we just told every man and boy in this country that sexually assaulting females is not only okay, it is something to aspire to.

As if the election itself wasn’t grim enough the news since has continued to be equally disheartening. Trump’s Cabinet picks have been overwhelmingly old, far-right, white males; Trump has vowed to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe V. Wade; and his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, essentially said that working mothers were discouraged from taking White House jobs.

Women’s health and choices will be threatened at both the state and national level. My daughter may grow up in a country whose leaders may not value her.

On election night when it was clear that Trump would win, a friend wrote to me, “This will redefine our work and our lives. We must dig in and fight.” I agree with that sentiment and have found it motivating but have also struggled with defining what that fight looks like. How do we best move forward in the face of sexism, bigotry, uncertainty and fear? I don’t know yet exactly what this fight looks like. I do know that we cannot afford to be complacent and that it could very well be the fight of our lives.

So while I and others search for answers on exactly what to do next, I will continue to teach my daughter that she is an equal to all of her peers – including the boys – and that she can be anything she wants to be – including President. I will continue to be a female Partner in a successful public and government relations firm and show others that being a working mother is not only possible but can also be incredibly rewarding. I will continue to support organizations that support women. And I will join thousands of women on January 21 at the Women’s March to tell the new administration that women’s rights are human rights and we will not go backwards.