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10 Powerful Women's Marches That Smashed The Patriarchy

On January 21, 2017, the Women's March on Washington, D.C. is set to bring together protestors from all backgrounds in defense of "human rights." While the march is making huge news, it's definitely not the first time women have made their voices heard. Check out these 10 other protests that made a huge impact in the history of women's rights.

The Suffrage Parade

Paul Thompson | Stringer | Getty

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In 1913, one day before Woodrow Wilson was to be inaugurated, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organized a march down Pennsylvania Avenue. It's estimated that between 5,000 to 8,000 suffragists participated, but unfortunately, due to many spectators who opposed women getting the right to vote, many marchers were harassed, spit on, and physically assaulted. By the end of the day, 100 marchers had been hospitalized, but the mistreatment ended up amplifying the event and leading to much wider support for their cause.

Photo: Paul Thompson | Stringer | Getty

Take Back The Night

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The Take Back the Night March is a public demonstration organized by women, for women. These protests occur annually on college campuses. In 2001, it transitioned from a movement into an official organization that focuses on sexual violence toward women and the victim blaming that tends to accompany. Take Back the Night gives the public a platform to unite against the shame and fear women experience in regard to sexual assault, harassment, and other forms of violence.

Photo: @property.of.nobody | Instagram

The Million Mom March

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The Million Mom March was born following a horrific 1999 shooting in California. Donna Dee-Thomases, a woman and mother from New Jersey, was outraged by the gun violence and began to rally moms together in support. Soon after, a movement was born, bringing more than 750,000 supporters to the National Mall on Sunday, May 14, 2000. With 70 cities across the Untied States hosting satellite marches, more than 1,000,000 joined in the cause that day.

Photo: @car0car0 | Instagram

Say Her Name

@sarahdashiji | Twitter

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As part of a national day of action, black women and girls (many of whom stood topless) joined together to protest and honor all black women who had been harmed by state violence, including police brutality, killings, and sexual assaults. "Say Her Name," is a movement organized by The BlackOUT Collective and Black Lives Matter, that included queer, straight, cisgender, and transgender black women of all ages.



Photo: @sarahdashiji | Twitter

Uganda Miniskirt Ban

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In February 2014, Saudi Arabian women took to Ugandan streets to defend their rights to wear miniskirts after a law was passed banning "indecent outfits," (AKA: hemlines above the knee) because it could be seen as a form of pornography. Following the ban, there was a huge number of disgusting attacks and the stripping down of women in public if they were considered to be dressed inappropriately.

Photo: @amyelizabethfallon | Instagram

The March For Women's Lives

Paul J. Richards | Getty

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In a protest that was mainly against the anti-abortion policies of former President George W. Bush and his re-election that November, The March For Women's Lives is estimated as being "the largest protest in U.S. history," when on April 25, 2004, around one million protestors rallied together for women's reproductive rights.

Photo: Paul J. Richards | Getty


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While there isn't an official law that bans women from driving, some deeply held religious beliefs do not allow females behind the wheel of a vehicle. However, that didn't stop a few dozen women in June 2011 from coming together via social media in the Women2Drive campaign and encouraging one another to post images and videos of themselves driving to raise awareness of the issue and promote change.



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The "SlutWalk" began on April 3, 2011, when approximately 3,000 people marched through Toronto in protest of victim-blaming in rape and sexual assault cases. The movement began following the comments of a Toronto police officer, who had made the remark that women shouldn't "dress like sluts," if they wanted to avoid being assaulted. Since the original walk, similar protests have taken place annually on a global scale with Amber Rose at the helm.

Photo: @shesplainpodcast | Instagram

Miss America Protest

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The Miss America Protest took place on September 7, 1968, and while it's a widely-known event, it's also widely misunderstood. On that day nearly 400 women stood outside the Atlantic City Convention center to protest the Miss America pageant's "ludicrous beauty standards." Part of the protest included marching around a "freedom trash can" and throwing in items that were perceived as symbols of female oppression including makeup, high heels, and bras. There were rumors that the trash can had been set on fire, coining the phrase "bra-burning feminists." However, while these rumors were totally false, they continue to be spread today.

Photo: Bettmann / Contributor | Getty Images

Women's Strike For Equality

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The women's Strike for Equality took place on August 26, 1970, the 50th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, and was sponsored by the National Organization for Women (NOW). The protest hosted more than 50,000 women marching down Fifth Avenue in New York City and throughout the country and was focused on equal opportunities for women in the workplace and political sphere, as well as social equality in their relationships.

Photo: Bettmann | Getty

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