Ludlow to speak on 2017 and 2018 women’s marches

Andrew Paisley, Campus Reporter

Women’s marches both past and present will be talked about in a speech entitled “Nevertheless, She Persisted” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the University Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

English professor Jeannie Ludlow, the coordinator of the women’s, gender and sexuality studies program, was asked to speak about this year’s and last year’s Women’s March. She will also talk about how past historical marches have affected them.

“There have been a lot of mistakes that we as feminists have made in the past when holding marches, and that is something I look forward to discussing at the meeting,” Ludlow said.

Ludlow hopes to demonstrate in her speech that feminists are not always perfect.

“We have messed up big time in the past, and we need to learn from that,” Ludlow said. “I think if we can get that message out, then more people will be welcomed in the feminist movement, because everyone is welcome, and everyone is needed.”

Ludlow said the 2017 Women’s March was, for the most part, because of the 2016 presidential election.

“Many women thought that we had come forward,” Ludlow said. “It wasn’t until we noticed that President (Donald) Trump was winning the election that we realized perhaps we hadn’t come as far as we thought.”

Another issue that brought about the 2017 Women’s March was sexual assault and harassment, Ludlow added.

“Because of the #MeToo Movement, sexual assault is a major issue for this year’s Women’s March,” Ludlow said.

The #MeToo movement involves people taking to Twitter to share their own stories of sexual assault and harassment.

A different issue that has largely affected the movement this year is that white women and black women do not vote the same way, Ludlow said.

“During the 2016 Presidential election, most white women voted for President Trump, and most black women voted for Hillary Clinton,” Ludlow said. “During last year’s march, the white women wanted to plan all the marches but did not want to include women of color, and I think that caused a lot of problems.”

Ludlow’s speech is not just about the women’s marches; it is also meant to inform people on the history of women’s rights and feminism.

“The first women’s marches were brought about by women’s rights to citizenship as well as the right to vote,” she said. “Back in the early 1900’s, women only carried citizenship through male relatives, whether it be their husband, uncle or even their son.”

Following these, many marches occurred because of labor issues.

“Women marched because they wanted the right to have better jobs and equal pay,” Ludlow said. “In the 1960’s, issues were brought about concerning women’s liberation and basic feminism principles.”

Toward the 1970’s, women became more vocal about their access to abortions and birth control.

“Many people do not realize that back in this time, women had to be married to get birth control,” Ludlow said.

Tess McArthy, ideas and issues coordinator for the University Board, said the UB originally wanted to hold a women’s march back in October.

“We went through several different ideas for ways to showcase this cause and bring awareness to the march,” McArthy said. “Many people do not know why women are marching, and we really want to inform people and hear other people’s stories as well.”

McArthy said Ludlow was chosen to speak because of her work with the women’s, gender and sexuality studies department and because she is simply an amazing speaker.

“In line with learning from Dr. Ludlow, we will open the floor to other students for discussion about their experiences at the women’s marches during the last two years,” McArthy said. “I hope a lot of people come and feel empowered to create change in our society and our university.”

Andrew Paisley can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].