Despite living in the lively San Francisco Bay area at the height of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, Pam Behbehani never joined the fray.
She was too busy having babies and focusing on the Middle East, and only later realised she had missed out.
But the election of Donald Trump as the US’s 45th president in November jolted her out of lifelong political passivity.
“This is the first time I’ve actually felt so upset about the moral structure of my country,” she said.
“I find myself living in a place I don’t recognise. Many of the things Trump has said are hard for me to digest, but what’s even worse is how many people can look beyond that.”
Behbehani (69) then stretched her budget and bought a plane ticket to Washington, DC, with her daughter and great-niece, both named Shirin Amini, and her daughter’s partner to participate in the Women’s March on Washington.
“I don’t want to go to my grave without standing up,” Behbehani said.
Together, they registered their opposition to Trump’s assumption of one of the world’s most powerful political offices.
Largely organised through social media, the march brought together people from across the nation.
More than 600 “sister marches” involving 1.35 million people were expected in other cities and towns.
Trump’s treatment of women was a hot issue during the presidential campaign.
Despite his statement during a presidential debate that no one “has more respect for women than me”, his “p*ssy-grabbing” comments made during a videotaped conversation sparked widespread condemnation.
Nevertheless, Trump received most votes from white women, according to exit polls.
Student Sara Altman-Ezzard (20) said seeing the negative impact Trump’s comments had on women she loved prompted her to travel to Washington.
“A lot of women in my life suffer from bullying and I think it’s becoming a lot more now as a result of his winning the presidency,” said Altman-Ezzard, who travelled from New York on Thursday with fellow student Emma Wiley.
Chanel Holland (20), a Virginia resident who was selling anti-Trump and pro-Obama T-shirts near Washington’s Union Station, said she supported the march’s solidarity with groups Trump had insulted or demeaned during the presidential campaign.
“For one man to purport so many stereotypes against so many people is kind of disgusting, it’s kind of scary,” Holland said.
“I have Muslim friends, I have Spanish friends, I’m a black woman myself, I have gay friends, my brother is gay, so literally everyone around me is being affected by this man.”
Wiley and Altman-Ezzard said they were also concerned about policies he might implement or reverse, such as potentially undoing the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, or limiting the right to an abortion.
March supporters and participants differed about whether it would help.
Some, like Holland, said marching “hasn’t really done anything in the past”.
But others, like the younger Shirin Amini (17) were optimistic.
“Everything that he said has been misogynistic and hateful, and this women’s march I believe is going to say that we don’t stand for it,” she said.