Almost 150 men, women, and kids braved the windy and cool temperatures this weekend for the Muskoka Women’s March. Hosted by Michelle Emson, an international human rights activist, the march made its way from the Huntsville Place Mall to Rivermill Park and back.

Emson says she was thrilled with the turnout on Saturday.

People of all ages showed up to the event, something Emson says is critical in finding a solution to inequality. She says once we acknowledge the issues and challenges women face, like pay inequality and sexual abuse, the solutions start with our children.

Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement showed his support at the women’s march, along with other local politicians including Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison, and Councillors Nancy Alcock, Bob Stone, and Jason FitzGerald.

Clement says this type of march is important to raise awareness.

Almost a year ago, the Globe and Mail published an investigative report that looked at the number of “unfounded” sexual assault cases across the country, which are cases that have been deemed baseless and unfounded by police. The report uncovered over half of sexual assaults reported in Muskoka in the last five years have never made it to court. The paper reports the national number is 19 per cent, but here in Muskoka, that number jumps to 55 per cent in Huntsville and 56 per cent in Bracebridge.

Moving forward, Emson says it’s important for the community to support their immediate friends and family and support organizations in Muskoka that aim to help women. That includes the Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group, and Muskoka Parry Sound Sexual Assault Services.

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington, which was originally meant as a protest against the inauguration of President Donald Trump but grew into a bigger movement about gender inequality.

Photo: Organizer Michelle Emson, with MP Tony Clement and numerous protesters at Saturday’s event. Supplied by Taylor Ablett.

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Muskoka Women’s March happening in Huntsville this weekend