PHILADELPHIA — A tradition inspired by disappointment over the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency stepped off this morning on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the fourth year in a row in a presidential election year in which women are once again vying to be the first to occupy the Oval Office.
While participants said the estimated thousands joining in the Women’s March on Philadelphia seemed fewer than last year and certainly down from the 50,000 attracted to the first in 2017, the day after Trump’s inauguration, the mood was characteristically enthusiastic, determined and supportive.
The march was just one of many held across the country. In New Hampshire, demonstrators turned out at rallies in Portsmouth and in Concord.
Presidential politics was not the only motivation for those who walked on a frigid, snowy morning that rendered ink pens useless. The theme of this year’s event, which is separately run from the Women’s March in Washington, was “The Year of the Woman.” Marchers spoke of many issues relevant to them.
LaToia Horace, 25, braved the unpleasant elements for her first Women’s March to push for equal rights.
“Stop dictating our bodies,” she said. “It’s a great time to be a woman. This is just the year to not worry about having a seat at the table and to make our own.”
Said her friend Nakera Pierce, 25, both from Woodbury, Pa.: “There’s feminism and there’s minority feminism. We’re black and we’re women too. We’re fighting for equality on both fronts.”
Nathalie Darden from New Jersey kept warm in a knitted pink hat — the garb of the first Women’s March that is not nearly as ubiquitous this year.
“I’m here for equal rights for women. Equal rights for the LGBT community is flip-flopping right now. And we’re here for equal pay,” she said. “I worked as a civil engineer and I know I wasn’t making the same pay then.”
Libby Madarasz, 56, said the significance of this year’s presidential election cannot be overstated.
“I think it’s the most important election of our lifetime,” she said.