On March 8, Get It Your Damn Self; It's 'Day Without A Woman'
It's International Women's Day, and across the globe, feminist organizers are calling on women to go on a one-day strike. The "Day Without a Woman" event asks women to show just how much they do by taking the day off from both paid and unpaid labor; to avoid shopping, except at women-owned businesses; and to wear red in solidarity with other women.
Buoyed by the massive turnout of the recent Women's Marches, a group of volunteer activists in the U.S. decided to join the International Women's Strike, describing their plans in a widely circulated story for The Guardian.
"Let us join together on 8 March to strike, walk out, march and demonstrate. Let us use the occasion of this international day of action to be done with lean-in feminism and to build in its place a feminism for the 99%, a grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism -- a feminism in solidarity with working women, their families and their allies throughout the world," wrote Guardian reporters in that piece.
Then in February, the organizers of the Women's March took to social media, announcing their plans for "A Day Without A Woman" general strike, though they did not specify a date. Soon after, the two groups of activists decided to combine efforts.
"I think it was the January 21 mass mobilization during the Women's March that gave many of us the confidence that the time was right to actually take up the call that the feminists internationally had given for March 8," Tithi Bhattacharya, an activist, historian and member of the International Women's Strike USA's national planning committee, told The Huffington Post.
The groups are calling for reproductive justice for women, labor rights, and an end to gender violence. Although many on social media dismissed the event as an ineffective, it is already causing some reverberations.
CNN reports this morning that after several school districts closed to allow staff and teachers to participate, this has left parents scrambling to find childcare, with some saying that the move is elitist.
"The lack of advance notice puts parents in a tight spot. I'm fortunate enough to have a job that will let me take paid leave to care for my son during an unexpected day off. So personally, I'll be fine. But many parents are not in that position," as one person said on Alexandria City Public Schools' Facebook page.
But others are supportive, with one parent writing on the ACPS Facebook page that, "I'm a working mom, hourly employee, and I support this decision. I'm proud of our ACPS teachers for their solidarity and taking a very visible stand in these troubling times."
Fox News also reported that several schools in at least four states were closed for the event, with Jessica Osborne, the mother of a high school student, saying that "At the end of the day, kids not being in school for a day is really in the grand scheme of things a first-world problem. The fact that we can demonstrate peacefully in this country is something we should all be grateful for."
Organizers conceded that the turnout for the event would be uneven, but were nonetheless buoyed by the principles behind the demonstration, and its potential for raising awareness about the many jobs, both paid and unpaid, that women do.
"Given the fact that this is an entirely grassroots mobilization ... it will be uneven across the board," Bhattacharya said. "It will be quite large in cities, like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia. In other cities, it will vary in size, but I think this is going to be a significant mobilization nationally."