The Resistance Is Female: PEN to Honor Women's Marches With Courage Award

The global women’s marches that took place after President Donald Trump’s election will receive the Freedom of Expression Courage Award from PEN America, the literary organization that champions human rights.

PEN announced on Wednesday that “The Women’s March” has won the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award. Bob Bland, a woman who helped organize and served as a co-chair of the march, will accept the prize on behalf of the movement at PEN’s literary gala on April 25 in New York.

“The Women’s March began as a quixotic idea shared with friends on Facebook. In the hands of 99.9 percent of people, it would have ended there, as a pipe dream. But Bob Bland and the group of women who joined her forged a powerful, diverse coalition that worked with immense drive to win over skeptics and build the support of an extraordinarily broad coalition of which PEN America became part,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America.

PEN also praised co-organizers and co-chairs Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour for helping to “galvanize a potent global movement to resist infringements on the rights and dignity of women and many other groups.”

Andrew Solomon, PEN America president, added that the march “demonstrated the power of women and, in turn, the power of the vast diversity that is America. It was an assertion of human rights and an exercise of free speech in the broadest possible sense.”

Indeed, as at least one recent poll discovered, the resistance—to paraphrase a popular feminist slogan—is female.

A survey by Lake Research Polling found that middle-aged women make up a huge proportion of the Trump resistance movement. Of the more than 28,000 people who take part in civic engagement through an app called Daily Action, 86 percent are women, and 66 percent were over the age of 45—with 72 percent saying they’d already participated in a protest against the president, and 77 saying they would likely do so in the future, Lake Research found.

PEN’s gala will also honor composer Stephen Sondheim, imprisoned Ukrainian writer-filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, and CEO of Macmillan publishing house John Sargent.