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Millions Of Women Formed A 385-Mile-Long “Women’s Wall” To Protest Gender Inequality

Organizers said 5 million women joined the protest, stretching across the state of Kerala in India.

Posted on January 2, 2019, at 10:29 a.m. ET

- / AFP / Getty Images

Millions of women formed a massive human chain in India to protest gender inequality.

The so-called “women’s wall” took place in Kerala on Tuesday, one day before two women made history in the southern state by entering a Hindu shrine that had previously banned women between the ages of 10 and 50.

Five million women are estimated to have joined hands and formed the 385-mile-long chain, which was organized by the leftist coalition government in Kerala. Officials had expected 3 million to attend, but told BBC News that 5 million turned out.

The official Twitter account of Pinarayi Vijayan, the head of the Keralan government, tweeted that the wall was a “momentous” occasion for all involved.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan warmly congratulates all who made Kerala's #WomensWall a great success. The 620 KM long gathering, organized to uphold the values of Kerala Renaissance, saw huge participation of women from all walks of life. This is a momentous occasion in our social life.

Suvarna Haridas, 30, who took part in the human chain, told BuzzFeed News over Twitter DM that the atmosphere was "electric."

"The excitement was palpable," she said, "Everyone truly felt like they were part of a special moment in the history of our tiny wonderful state."

Haridas, who is from Kerala, said every generation "irrespective of their religious views" was present, "from toddlers to grandmas."

Men also took part. Kerala resident Azhar said he and his male friends were saluting the women as they held hands in the city of Thrissur. "It was great," he told BuzzFeed News via Twitter DM. "That so many women got together to assert their rights was amazing!"

People celebrated the women’s achievement under the hashtag #WomensWall.

Phenomenal! Never seen such a display of women power. Down Down Patriarchy and Communalism #WomensWall

#WomensWall in Kochi 💪 Never seen anything like this!

Transgenders from Kudumbasree - Kunnukuzhi, extending their support for #VanithaMathil.Together we learn, together we fight, together we survive. #WomensWall #OurRenaissance

This grandma says: "We too will join #VanithaMathil ..." Snap of tribal women from Waynad came to join #WomenWall at Calicut ❤️

My mom (second from left) just came back tired from #WomenWall and dad promptly made her tea. #SmallWins #vanithamathil

The era of women folding hands and submitting to patriarchy is beginning to end from here. They will throw their fists on the air and demand for their rights. Women's wall is just a beginning, a baby step of the impending cultural revolution. #WomensWall #VanithaMathil

Something Beautiful is happening in Kerala right now. You're witnessing history. Women standing in solidarity with each other fighting for our rights. Should happen in all states. 2019 is lit. #WomensWall #Respect

A day after the women’s wall protest concluded, news broke that two women had made history by legally entering the Sabarimala Hindu shrine for the first time.

The site has traditionally banned menstruating women, defined as any woman between ages 10 and 50, from entering for hundreds of years. However, women are believed to have sporadically entered the shrine until 1991 when the temple won a legal case formally banning them.

The ban was overruled by India’s highest court in September 2018 — but women have still struggled to enter, and the issue has become political. The ruling Hindu nationalist government, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the court’s ruling was an attack on their religion’s values.

But many Hindus disagree, and the women’s wall showed women of many backgrounds, ages, and beliefs supported the movement.

Women across all sections of the society are expressing their solidarity with the fight to protect the renaissance tradition of Kerala. #VanithaMathil formed at Kannur district of Kerala. #WomensWall

Huge turn out of women at Thrissur-Viyyur highway for #WomenWall. #VanithaMathil

Pictures from the #WomenWall #VanithaMathil


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