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Women's March 5th Anniversary: How far Kern County women have come

Posted at 11:22 PM, Jan 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 11:54:32-05

Five years ago, five million across the nation attended the women’s march. People in Kern county also took steps for a better future for females: 5000 people marched each year in 2018 and 2019, according to Women's March Kern County co-director, Robin Walters.

“We never imagined that it would be so inspiring here in Kern County,” Walters said. “I think everybody felt at that moment, and I hope they’re continuing to feel the need to protect women, women’s rights, and pursue really, a fair system for everybody.”

The march normally takes place here at Mill Creek Park. Even though Women’s March Kern County didn’t have a physical march this year the real work happens every day, according to Walters.

“[It happens every day] when we volunteer, when we canvas, [and] when we phone bank. We have women involved in unions, women involved in healthcare, we have women involved in the distribution of vaccines, masks and all kinds of things.” 

There’s still work to be done, according to Walters. On the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Saturday, Walters mentioning reproductive rights and health.

Income inequality and work disparities are another factor. Women in Kern county are 40 percent more likely than men to be out of work across age and education levels, according to the Better Bakersfield and Boundless Kern 2021 market assessment. Among those working, men are more likely to have the better jobs.

“I think the pandemic has illustrated the income equality that women face, because so often women are both caregivers and breadwinners,” Walters said.

Still, a lot has been accomplished, according to Walters. The non-partisan march has inspired participants to step forward in our community in positions of power and influence to make positive change.

In recent years, many women have been declaring their intent to run for office. Most recently, Supervisor Leticia Perez announced her candidacy for the 35th CA district assembly seat. She’s not the only woman running. Walters also highlighted Chris Cruz-boone, who joined the BCSD board of trustees that is made up completely of women.

"We have seen women transform their own lives and by that the lives of their community,” Walters said. “They've run for office, they've become activists, [and] they're speaking out for their community. All those things are what [Women’s March Kern County] stand for, not just marching down the street once a year."