On March 8, women around the world are being called upon to take part in a one-day strike called a “Day Without a Woman.”
The premise of the strike is simple enough. Women who are able are asked to take the day off of work, and not just paid work. Women do a disproportionate amount of unpaid labor, such as child care and cleaning at home, and women who can are asked to strike from that labor as well.
Of course, the organizers of International Women’s Strike USA recognize that not everyone can participate. Whether you’re a single mother who can’t take a break from child care or a woman without work protections or a woman who can’t afford to lose the day’s pay, you can still participate in the strike. You can wear red to show your solidarity and, most importantly, refuse to buy anything. Show the world the hit it would take without half its population leveraging its purchasing power.
While organizers had long proposed a strike like this, it was the success of the Women’s March after the inauguration of Donald Trump that propelled the march forward.
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“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, a member of the International Women’s Strike USA’s national planning committee, told The Huffington Post.
“The strike is very consciously using a diversity of actions to talk about women’s labor, because women’s labor is most often rendered invisible, both by society and by policymakers,” Bhattacharya explained. “To strike as a woman worker is not just to strike in the workplace, but to understand the unity between domestic roles and public roles that as women we constantly have to straddle.”
Still, organizers admit that it will be hard to quantify the effects of the strike because of the factors involved.
“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.”