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  • People take part in the second annual Women

    People take part in the second annual Women's March in Manhattan in New York City, January 20. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 January 2018

Campaigners say Trump's unpopular policies rolling back birth control and equal pay protections are propelling many women into activism for the first time.

From Los Angeles to New York, tens of thousands of demonstrators are donning pink "pussy" hats and marching as one, demanding equal rights, justice and fair pay in the second annual Women's March.

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Supporters swarmed the streets of 250 cities across the United States on Saturday in defense of women's rights as the political crises of the past year rose to the surface in a wave of sleazy politicians, violated immigration rights and families torn asunder.

"I feel differently about it this year," Ann Dee Allen, a healthcare communications specialist from Wauwatosa in Wisconsin, told the New York Times.

"Last year, I just felt kind of angry and impassioned. This year, I feel like I'm in it for the long haul."

Power to the Polls, this year's theme, has an eye fixed firmly on the future with the goal of harnessing one million new voters in order to increase support for women's rights advocates and help usher them into office.

Campaigners say Trump's unpopular policies rolling back birth control and equal pay protections are propelling many women into activism for the first time.

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The marches are taking place after what has been a pivotal year for women's rights, with the #MeToo and #TimesUp social media effort against sexual harassment and abuse born out of sprawling scandals which first erupted in Hollywood.

"If last year's march led to the #MeToo moment, I am excited to think what will come next," said Elizabeth Farren, organizer of an expat rally in Rome, Italy.

Some critics have said this year's march lacks focus. Targeting a specific issue such as immigration would have greater impact, said Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst at libertarian think-tank the Reason Foundation.

The marches are targeting swing states controlled by Republicans ahead of November’s midterm elections.

"Last year was about women standing together and realizing that they're not alone," said Katherine Siemionko, founder of the Women's March Alliance in New York.

"The message this year is marching to action: march, register, vote. You're marching, making sure you're registered to vote, and getting to the polls."


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