As a followup to the Women’s March on Washington, organizers have come together in order to facilitate another high profile event: a day in which women do not participate in the economy. Dubbed ‘A Day Without Women,’ Wednesday, March 8th 2017 represents a historic strike in which women are unifying in an effort to achieve gender equality in the workplace.
Although March 8th – otherwise known as International Women’s Day – is usually treated like any other day, about a month ago, the organizers of the women’s march posted on their website asking women to use this day as an opportunity for a political movement. Asking women to refrain from participating in the economy in any way – whether it be going to work or shopping – the purpose of the protest is “recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system—while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.” In addition, women have been asked to wear red to show solidarity, even if they cannot join the strike.
Criticized by some for its timing or inconvenience, the strike has proven to be widely successful. Various school districts – such as Alexandria schools in northern Virginia and Prince George’s County Public schools in Maryland – have been closed for the day as a response to the large amount of female teachers that requested leave.
In addition, popular news outlets have also taken to purposeful silence in wake of the protests. For example, the predominantly women-run Jezebel will not be running any bylines by women until tomorrow. Instead, they will be relying on their male staff to keep the website running for the day. Complex will also be participating in the strike by not posting any new content on their website for the day.
No new content on the site today, however follow this thread for some of our past but best stories on or about women #InternationalWomensDay
— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) March 8, 2017
MTV has even changed their logo for the day, turning the ‘M’ upside down to represent a ‘W’ for women. Any new posts that appear have been scheduled in advance, as the female employees are choosing not to work.
— MTV (@MTV) March 8, 2017
According to the New York Times, hundreds of men, women, and children also showed up at the streets surrounding the White House in order to protest President Trump’s use of the ‘global gag-rule.’ While organizers of the various groups that appeared at the protest took the day off, many women chose to attend during their lunch hour.
Compared to the Women’s March on Washington held earlier in the year, the Day Without Women marches were much smaller. However, this lack of attendance is even more telling of the need for reform. While many companies have chosen to support the national walkout, a large majority of male-dominated organizations can still function without issue. Furthermore, many women cannot afford to miss work or speak out against inequality in the workplace. When a similar protest titled ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ was held on February 16th, The Atlantic reported that at least 100 workers were fired from their jobs. This chilling fact can easily be linked to a dip in involvement in today’s strike.
Despite the fact that The White House released a statement regarding International Women’s Day, it has not commented on the nationwide women’s strike that is occurring. A quote regarding women in the economy in the statement reads:
Today, the United States renews its commitment to fostering economic growth and job creation by harnessing the full potential of women in our economy. This Administration will work diligently to encourage women to enter and succeed in the workforce while addressing the many barriers women still face in achieving economic success, including those that impede women’s access to capital, markets, and networking opportunities.
Uncharacteristically, President Trump has not taken to his Twitter account to comment on the day’s events, either. Instead, he posted a short and simple message about honoring women’s contributions:
On International Women's Day, join me in honoring the critical role of women here in America & around the world. https://t.co/eAbd9OiUl5
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 8, 2017