On January 21, 2017, millions of people marched worldwide to draw attention to not only women’s rights but other social issues like climate change, immigration rights, and racial equality. The catalyst for the march was the election of President Trump, who made several
statements during his campaign widely seen as anti-women or offensive. The march was the largest single-day protest in United States history.

Sacramento's Women's March (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

The California State Library holds the largest collection of posters carried by marchers in California. The collection both captures the “her-storic” moment and shows that women’s struggles for equality did not end with securing the right to vote in 1920.

Rosie the Riveter (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

The iconic "Rosie the Riveter" image was created to recruit women to work in factories and shipyards during World War II. For the seven decades since, Rosie has become an enduring symbol of women's strength and resilience.

A Woman's Place (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

Like “Rosie the Riveter,” Princess Leia, the leader of the resistance against the evil empire in “Star Wars,” is a symbol of female strength and empowerment, defying the “princess” stereotype.

Fun-damental Rights (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

Singer Cyndi Lauper's 1980s anthem "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" remains a spunky rallying cry for women's rights. Many posters contain riffs on Lauper's song title, making it one of the most popular phrases in the California State Library’s collection.

Nasty (21st Century) by Claire GouldCalifornia State Library

The Women’s March organizers desired a large-scale event to highlight social issues that impact all persons. The Black hand and symbols on the defiantly sharpened fingernails in this poster graphically illustrate the intersectionality of issues.

We Will Not Go Quietly (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

This play on the nostalgic phrase "Good Old Days" directly challenges the notion that past periods of American history and culture were, in fact, “good” for all Americans.

Grab This (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

Enraged by a 2005 audio clip in which Donald Trump boasted that he could grope women without their consent, many marchers created homemade “pussyhats” in response to the vulgar language he used to describe women’s bodies. Others expressed their displeasure in highly stylized ways, like this poster from an Oakland artist.

Ratify the ERA (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

Concerned over recent court decisions seen as restricting the ability of communities of color to participate in the electoral process, voting rights was an issue highlighted by many marchers. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), first introduced in 1923, proposes to add a constitutional guarantee of equal rights to all Americans regardless of sex.

Dangerous and Nasty (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

The word “nasty” became a rallying cry among marchers after Donald Trump described his opponent, Hillary Clinton, as a “nasty woman” in a presidential debate. Hashtags featuring “nasty woman” helped catapult the phrase into the American consciousness and the term appeared on many posters.

We the People (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

Many California marchers carried posters calling on women from all parts of the world to unite. Organizers say 673 women’s marches occurred around the globe on January 21, 2017 – at least one on every continent, including Antarctica.

Tweet Love (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

The role of social media in political elections became even more pronounced in 2016. This poster could be a reaction to the provocative tone of Donald Trump’s tweets or a response to some of the 1 billion+ election-related tweets logged between September 2016 and Election Day.

Black Lives Matter (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

Several of the social issues in addition to women’s rights that were supported by marchers are included on this poster.

Leslie Knope (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

Many marchers found inspiration from fictional characters in literature, film, and television. Leslie Knope, the smart, career-focused character from “Parks and Recreation,” is defiantly optimistic, routinely enthusing about government’s ability to do good.

HerSTORY (21st Century) by unknownCalifornia State Library

One of the songs from the 2015 musical “Hamilton” is "History Has Its Eyes on You." The term “Her-Story” is a reaction to a perception that much of history is focused on men's achievements. "Her-story" calls for the celebration of women's contributions as well.

Credits: Story

You can learn more about the Sutro Library's 2017 Women's March collection via our finding aid California Women's March posters and ephemera, 2017.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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