On Jan. 21, millions of people across not only the United States but the entire world took to the streets under the umbrella of the Women's March. The overwhelming success of the Women's March is living on in various ways — not least of which is the March for Science on April 22. Like its predecessor, the main Science March will be held in the nation's capital, with additional satellite marches around the country and the whole world. Also like its predecessor, women are in the very DNA of this march, as well.
"Our organizing committee is 70 percent women, so because we care about ourselves and our own well-being there's certainly an aspect of just who's doing the work that ends up resulting in care being taken," Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist at New York University and the national co-director of partnerships for the March for Science, tells Bustle.
She says that although the march does not make women in particular an official focus of the day, diversity — of race, class, disability, and gender — is an important component. Two of the march's three co-chairs are women, and she says the organizers used the Women's March as a template, talking to organizers of that movement to replicate its effectiveness. "The more diverse the scientist, the more diverse the questions and hypotheses, and then the broader spectrum of data, evidence we can use," Johnson says.
"I think you're going to see girls who talk about being physicists and not princesses."
For groups with a goal of encouraging women to get involved in science, the march is an opportunity.
"I think you're going to see girls who talk about being physicists and not princesses," Lisa Maatz, Vice President for Government Relations for the American Association of University Women, a group that has helped women to enter science and academia since 1881. "How could we not be involved in the March for Science?"
Maatz sees this moment, where women are getting more involved in political activism and culture around the country, as one that should be taken advantage of for women in science. "Women need to be at the table," she says. "Our members really believe in giving opportunity and opening doors for women, because when you do that, women and people of color will walk through them and take advantage of the opportunities."
"I truly believe if we want to solve the world’s biggest problems — from climate change to cancer we need to teach girls how to code."
The fears surrounding what a Trump presidency will mean for women — based on not only his record of sexist and misogynistic rhetoric and his vow to appoint pro-life judges but his administration's targeting of Planned Parenthood funding — appears to have spurred more women to run for office at all levels of government. The similar concerns about the Trump administration officials who, critics charge, are climate change deniers or lack adequate environmental knowledge — like Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry — has spurred new interest in science advocacy and a chance for positive change.
Girls Who Code, a group that tries to get young women involved in programming and computer science, is joining the march in order to bolster their place in the scientific community. "The Women’s March really created this movement around advancing women's rights and equality, and the March for Science is a chance to show girls that their voices will be heard and their contributions will be valued," Reshma Saujani, the group's founder and CEO, tells Bustle via email.
"To me this issue isn’t just about gender equality for equality’s sake, but about the innovations being left on the sidelines as a result of women not being represented in this field," Saujani continues. "I truly believe if we want to solve the world’s biggest problems — from climate change to cancer we need to teach girls how to code."