The 59th annual Conference on the Status of Women in New York City kicked off on Sunday, March 8th, 2015 with the March for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. After gathering in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, participants walked almost two miles to a rally in Times Square. The marchers were a true representation of diversity, with a variety of languages and countries presented. Additionally, among the more than one thousand participants were a substantial number of males, bearing signs that read “This is what a feminist looks like” or “#heforshe”. As the march progressed, people joined along the route, further contributing to the representation of diversity. Although an exact count of participants is difficult, there were more than enough people to overflow the space allotted to the rally in Times Square.
The marchers sang, chanted, and carried signs for the entirety of the march. Their messages included “Women’s rights are human rights,” “#IWALKFORWOMEN,” “We want safe streets now,” and “Women’s lives matter.” There was a palpable change in energy as the crowd passed, with numerous people stopping to take photos or ask questions along the route. In addition to UNWomen, other groups represented included the New York City Mental Health Counselors Association, United Nations Population Fund, Soroptimist International, World YWCA, as well as numerous other international organizations. Perhaps the largest delegation came from Sant Nirankari Mission, whose members served as volunteers and participants in the march.