Utilizing interviews, participant observation, and documentary photography, this study investigates how women claim their right to the city through engaging in protest, focusing on women’s participation in the Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump protests in Portland, Oregon, during summer 2020. This included attending protests and visiting protest sites to document events and locations with digital photography and facilitating conversations with protest participants. The analysis of this visual and on-the-ground research is given a theoretical framework with Henri Lefebvre’s concept of the right to the city, Jane Jacobs’ important notion of “eyes on the street,” and Judith Butler’s theories of gender asperformance. How women participate in public protest is an act that gives new meaning to and changes urban spaces. The interviews conducted with nine women and one person who identifies as non-binary provide important, original qualitative data on women’s experiences in urban space. This research reveals new ways to look at urban spaces and the right to be in them through analysis of topics such as the creation of community, bodily autonomy, and women’s safety in cities to show new directions for studying women’s participation in urban space and social justice movements.


Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Sociology and Anthropology


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Research | Gender and Sexuality | Politics and Social Change | Sociology


women, protest, right to the city, eyes on the street, covid-19, covid, Portland Oregon, Black Lives Matter, gender, urban studies, safety, space, cities

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2021 Sarah Foley Duran