Did the March 4 Women call for gender exclusion cause a PR backlash?

22 Jan


In central London at the weekend, hundreds or thousands of women, depending if you read the Evening Standard or The Guardian report on the event, turned up on the anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration to demand equality with male counterparts and an end to sexual predatory actions by men in powerful positions.

Prior to the rally taking place, there had been a strong call to make the rally a "women and girls only" event, a show of strength by females in the face of male power and the subsequent misuse of it, primarily in the workplace.

And yet, only two weeks ago at the Golden Globe awards, Oprah Winfrey, in celebrating the achievement of some women who were calling out the abuse taking place in Hollywood, recognised that men need to be engaged positively in the change that has to take place to achieve the goals of the #metoo and the Time's Up campaigns.

The weather in London was pretty foul on Sunday, which no doubt had an impact on numbers turning up, and most reports in the rally commented on the fact that this year saw considerably fewer people taking to the streets to make their voices heard.

So the question is left hanging - should the invitation have been all inclusive? Should men have been encouraged to stand alongside the women demanding parity? Would the crowds have been bigger, louder, more impressive if the call for it to be "women only" had not been made? Would the impact have been lesser or greater if more men, and some did turn out to show support irrespective of the call, had stood in solidarity with the women demonstrating at the weekend? Did the organisers shoot themselves in the foot with a PR gaff on this one, or did it make no difference and the position taken was the right one?

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