SAN ANTONIO – International Women’s Day celebrated the achievements of women politically, socially, and culturally, but the day also highlighted the issues on the minds of women in San Antonio.
Approximately 300 San Antonians gathered at Milam Park on Sunday to celebrate the city’s 30th annual International Women’s Day March.
Mara Posada is the director of public affairs at Plant Parenthood South Texas and she explained the importance of this year’s theme: “The theme of the march is our history, our future— nuestra historia, nuestro futuro. It’s important for us to acknowledge all of our elders, people who have come before us who have created rights here for us, locally, nationally, internationally. And we are also welcoming the new generation of women— all women, trans women, non-binary women— who are here today to support the march and move this generation forward.”
Texas Organizing Project (TOP) organizer Sofia Sepulveda roared chants through her megaphone as the marchers walked through downtown. TOP was one of many organizations at the march, and Sepulveda wanted health care to be on the minds of participants.
“At the end of the day everybody’s going to need health care— Republican, Democrat, Libertarian— whatever you think you are, you are going to need health care,” Sepulveda said. “Right now we are paying costly monthly premiums, we pay high deductibles, out-pocket-expenses. Your health care only works when you are in town. The moment you go to Austin, you have to pay out of pocket.”
Sepulveda also talked about the wage gap between women of color and their male peers.
Other issues that were addressed on the hand-crafted signs during the march included LGBTQ+ rights, gentrification, and sexual assault.
“An alarming number of women that are affected by intimate partner violence,” Posada said. “Here in San Antonio there is also a lack of reproductive health agencies that provide all reproductive health care, including abortion— we have two providers here in San Antonio.”
With more women getting involved, organizers like Marisa Gonzalez are hopeful for the future.
“More and more people realize that they need to be involved and so whether that’s just coming here or being a part of one of these organizations that’s here today— people feel more inspired to take action and that’s really inspiring for me to continue to be a part of it,” said Gonzalez.