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Editorial: Women's March should be more inclusive

The Women's March has done a remarkable job of mobilizing and motivating women across the country. Look at the sheer number of women participating in events last weekend and you can't argue that.

And while this year's march, again tied to the anniversary of President Trump's inauguration, made strides to be more inclusive and diverse, it still falls short of reaching its potential as a true women's empowerment movement.

Why?

Politics.

The Women's March was intended to promote the idea that women's rights are human rights—a concept we can fully get behind.

But it was also created with politics in mind. Specifically, it was a rally cry against Trump and the controversial issues that surround him. Topics like abortion, reproductive issues and sexism lead the pack. The result is a movement led by liberal, white, middle-class women. And while that's not inherently right or wrong—everyone has the right to assembly—imagine the power of the Women's March if it were to steer a bit farther away from politics and a bit closer toward the idea of inclusiveness and empowerment for all women, of all races, religions and political affiliations.

To be fair, efforts were made this year to appeal to more women, particularly those with diverse ethnic backgrounds. Issues like immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, and health care reform were a bigger part of this year's national discussion. The pink "pussyhat" was of course still present, but it's emphasis was scaled back this year after some backlash last year by those—women and men—who found it offensive.

These are all steps in the right direction, but it doesn't have to stop there.

Mobilizing women, encouraging them to vote and get involved in their communities and to advocate equal rights is an idea nearly everyone should be able to support. Maybe a politically driven resistance movement was what was needed to get this conversation going, around the country and in our communities, homes and workplaces. This year's #metoo movement added to the fervor this year.

For the march to ignite meaningful change, however, the movement needs to grow into something that surpasses its anti-Trump beginnings.

Women need to be able to see that the thread tying them together is more than just disdain for one man. Rather, it's a common desire for equality and respect. It's unfortunate that has become a Republican vs. Democrat issue. That seems counterproductive.

At the end of the day, there is value in people coming together around issues and having the freedom to express their opinions. The issues at the heart of the Women's March movement are important. Let's just hope that one day every woman can feel comfortable taking part in such an event, or perhaps that no such event would be needed because equal rights were just a given.

Let's hope that one day we see women supporting and encouraging one another—for that matter, men too—no matter their politics.

Now that's empowerment.

Editorials represent the opinion Forum management and the Editorial Board.

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