2017 DiversityInc Top 50 Announcement Event

‘Day Without a Woman’: Women’s March Sets Date for General Strike

DiversityInc asked Nikol Alexander-Floyd, a political scientist and women’s studies professor, her thoughts on the strike and on race in relation to the movement.

Women's March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017 / DIVERSITYINC/Sheryl Estrada

Building upon the momentum of the worldwide protests against the Trump administration on January 21, Women’s March organizers announced “A Day Without a Woman” is scheduled for March 8, which is International Women’s Day.

The organization tweeted Tuesday:

The organizers did not immediately announce the terms of the strike but said it would begin sharing more information and actions over the next few weeks.

A Women’s March Instagram post infers that the strike may include a boycott of certain businesses:

“In the spirit of women and their allies coming together for love and liberation, we offer ‘A Day Without a Woman.’

“We ask: do businesses support our communities, or do they drain our communities? Do they strive for gender equity or do they support the policies and leaders that perpetuate oppression? Do they align with a sustainable environment or do they profit off destruction and steal the futures of our children?

“We saw what happened when millions of us stood together in January, and now we know that our army of love greatly outnumbers the army of fear, greed and hatred. On March 8, International Women’s Day, let’s unite again in our communities for ‘A Day Without a Woman.’”

Following the marches, the organization released a plan of 10 actions in 100 days.

Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd is an associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Alexander-Floyd told DiversityInc that she viewed Women’s March in January as the “un-Inauguration” of President Donald Trump.

Dr. Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd

“The Women’s March was successful in making opposition to [President] Trump visible, and in affirming the need to resist the Trump administration long-term,” she said. “Happening 24 hours after his swearing in, I like to think of it as the ‘un-Inauguration.’

“The heightened responsiveness of the public to oppose nominations and to protest executive orders is certainly necessary and encouraging, so this is something that organizers of the Women’s March should facilitate.”

However, Alexander-Floyd, who is also an attorney and a political scientist, said, “unless we can channel the energy we have seen into organizing people in a systematic way, raising funds, and pushing a targeted policy agenda, it will not get us very far.”

She said the preparation for the general strike on March 8 might not be robust enough to produce the desired outcomes.

“A true or optimal general strike that would grind economic and business functions to a halt takes more time, focus and coordination than has been possible for the March 8 action,” she said. “It is a noble idea, and may result in protests, but will not have the impact that a wide-scale general strike could provide.”

Diversity within the Women’s March Movement

Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017 / DIVERSITYINC

The idea for the Women’s March started on Facebook, shortly after the presidential election. The concept grew into hundreds of thousands of women (and men) who participated in marches in the U.S. and abroad.

Alexander-Floyd, co-founder of the Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics, explained that prior to the January 21 marches, “some women of color feminists raised questions about diversity both in terms of march organizers and in terms of platform issues.”

She said the concerns of women of color feminists are valid, “but some context and nuance are important to consider.”

The initial organizers, white women, named the march the Million Women March, which sparked controversy as it is the same name of the marches organized by Black activists in the 1990s to address issues concerning the Black community. Organizers began seeking diverse talent to help lead the cause.

Related Story

A combination of photos taken at the National Mall shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremony to swear in President Donald Trump at 12:01pm (L) on Jan. 20, 2017, and the Women's March on Jan. 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Women’s March on Washington Drew More People Than Trump’s Inauguration, Say Crowd Scientists

“We have to fight harder than we’ve ever fought before,” Jalila Bell, a women’s march attendee, told DiversityInc.

“Although they are not always highlighted or recognized in public coverage, there are women of color that have been involved in organizing the Women’s March, and they were certainly participants,” said Alexander-Floyd. “The platform issues have also been altered in response to public critique.”

Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez are the national co-chairs. Mallory, who is African American, is a veteran organizer who worked closely with the Obama administration as an advocate for civil rights issues and equal rights for women. Perez, a Latina, is the executive director of The Gathering for Justice, a nonprofit founded by Harry Belafonte.

Speakers at the March on Washington included activist and feminist Angela Davis.

“We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages,” Davis said.

This photo from the Washington, D.C. march went viral on social media. / TWITTER

Some Black women have demonstrated disinterest in supporting the Women’s March movement in light of the presidential election voting results — 94 percent of Black women voted for Hillary Clinton, while 53 percent of white women voted for Trump.

“Support for a candidate, like Hillary Clinton, or for a protest, like the Women’s March, is not driven by affect, but one’s perceived political interests and goals,” Alexander-Floyd said.

“Those who felt betrayed by white women on Election Day need to have a time of introspection. Maybe they slipped into assuming that most women, regardless of race, class, or religious affiliation, among other things, support or oppose particular policies or attitudes.

“Perhaps they hoped women overwhelmingly share some type of feminist values. The reality of the situation is that white women have consistently supported Republicans in presidential elections. This is something that political scientist Jane Junn and others have effectively demonstrated for some time, for instance.”

According The Atlantic, “[White women] voted for Donald Trump for the same complicated set of reasons they consistently vote for other Republican presidential candidates; failing to win their support is a broad problem for Democrats, and not a specific failing of Hillary Clinton.”

Alexander-Floyd said, “women of color feminists have consistently pointed to cleavages that exist within political camps and the dangers of trying to homogenize women’s experiences.”

She also said the Women’s March must practice long-term organizing in order to forge a political agenda, work through conflicts and develop consensus around issues.

“There is no self-evident common ground that all women share and by which they are motivated,” Alexander-Floyd added. “We are diverse experientially, ideologically and in terms of our backgrounds and priorities.”

At the Women’s March on Washington, attorney Jalila Bell, who is African American, told DiversityInc in a video interview that she participated not only to support women’s rights but to express support for Black Lives Matter, LBGTQ rights and rights for her Muslim friends and family.

Recommended Articles

16 comments


  • I wonder how the country would do with a “Day without Men” strike? These so-called strikes and marches are only fanning the flames of division and “us versus them” philosophy that has permeated “diversity” over the last 3 decades. Blame men, especially white men and you have a target that typically does not strike back for fear of being called every phobic and ism in the book. The vast majority of men respect and treat women with the utmost equality. For those who do not, then their time is waning. Do not protest against something unless you have a specific target and are just not making things up.

    • They are fanning the flames of unity. The president won by only 77,000 votes scattered across three states, which overruled 3 million population votes. The values of the people protesting are shared by more Americans than your values. Your hubris makes you blind to that fact. If you were a real ‘oath keeper’, you’d be protesting with them.

    • John, Would you suggest woman sit and passively wait for the rest of the world to treat woman as equal to men? And why would any man need to strike back? Woman deserve equal pay, woman deserve to be able to decide on their own productive health decisions, woman deserve to be in all governing positions in equal numbers, woman deserve to dress however they want, without being looked at as an object of sex; Woman deserve so much more, why would anyone not be actively behind this? It isn’t a question of men treating woman nicely… It is about woman being on the exact same playing field. We are just as smart and capable as any man, and since a overwhelming majority of white men hold most of the power, just waiting for them to change their minds is not going to magically happen.

    • Charity Dell

      JOHN–

      INJUSTICE fans flames of division. INJUSTICE is why marches and grass-roots political activism is necessary.
      If the Wealthy White Male Oligarchy (the top 10%) had done justly, acted justly, legislated justly and JUSTLY
      ENFORCED THE LAW, we would not need any kind of march! The vast majority of American men DO NOT treat
      women with respect and utmost equality. If they did, American women would not ever have to fear RAPE, VIOLENCE,
      SYSTEMIC DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING, EMPLOYMENT, ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION or ANY OTHER
      FORM OF DISENFRANCHISEMENT.

      American women–of ALL ethnicities–STILL have to worry about their female children being ABDUCTED INTO
      SEXUAL SLAVERY and removed from this country to destinations unknown. The slave trade is still alive and
      well and operates on a worldwide scale.

      There has NEVER been respect for WOMEN OF COLOR, who are STILL fighting for equality as females AND as members of the oppressed 40% of the American population. As an African-American woman I can tell you that I
      WISH I need only “make things up.” I CANNOT UNMAKE years of my life, FIGHTING THE SYSTEMIC RACISM
      that you can so easily deny. My ancestors went through SLAVERY and JIM CROW and AMERICAN APARTHEID
      IN THIS COUNTRY, so they did not have the luxury to “make things up”.

      When EQUALITY and JUSTICE are UNIFORMLY ENFORCED, there will be no need for marches.

  • From the election on through the women’s march I noticed that the women I know that voted for Donald Trump were just like we read here and they totally opposed the women’s march. They were “Republican Only and Always”, “Extreme Christian” – another words totally against anyone or anything that approves of abortions, LBGTQ rights, and seem to extremely not like anything Muslim. They think they have all the rights they need. I would say half or more of these “white women” don’t work so they don’t even know what women really want or need in the working class.

    I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime, the way the division has been throughout the election and after. I thought that the US was becoming more tolerant and respectful. Boy was I fooled. Before you know it we will have drinking fountains around the block lined up with every type of human named above it. I took a pledge along time ago but, have truly always felt I lived by those ideals anyway….”to challenge prejudice and to stop those who out of hatred or ignorance, would treat any person unfairly; I will work toward an ever-improving, diverse and inclusive environment, with dignity, and respect for every individual….

    • Keep your spirits up. He was only able to eek out a tiny win – 77,000 votes, scattered across three states was all it took to overrule 3 million population. Hillary was a horrible candidate, Bernie (or Joe or Elizabeth) would have mopped the floor with him.

      If the democrats can get rid of Pelosi and Schumer, they’ll sweep congress in 20 months.

  • I guess I need to not be so sensitive but it’s not at all accurate to say “White women voted for Trump” when 47% of White women DIDN’T vote for him. Slightly more than 1/2 voted for him but if you’re walking down the street looking at the White women passing you have a slightly less than 50/50 chance the woman passing you didn’t vote for him. My point is the support for him from White women is not nearly as overwhelming as media seems to be making it. (And yes, you guessed correctly, I’m one of the people who didn’t vote for him.)

    • I know it is difficult to digest (perhaps because you are a member of the “white woman” group) but the majority of white women voters voted against their own best interests. Period. Not black women. Not Asian women. Not black men or Asian men. White women. Sorry to say, but ethnic minorities are often put into boxes regarding crime statistics and various other horrible things, so welcome to our club. The fact remains that white (American) women gave Orange Circus Peanut his electoral advantage. The world is shocked.

      • I might add that, as an American citizen of color, most of those Trump voting white women may not leave the country to hear what people everywhere are saying about them.

    • Charity Dell

      DEBORAH–

      In addition to all the white women who voted for Trump, were all the misguided Black and Latino males who voted for
      Trump. Many of these male voters voted for Trump because they did not want “a woman to tell me what to do.” So they
      voted for a maladjusted, non-qualified, under-educated, brash, misogynist BULLY versus someone who had 25 years
      of public service experience and FOREIGN AFFAIRS EXPERTISE at that.

      Trump is what happens when RACISM and SEXISM are worshiped as gods, and devotees bow
      down to their Little Godlets. The only problem with this, however, is that Racist/Sexist Godlets
      are not interested in helping the electorate, and simply help themselves to their devotees’
      tax dollars.

  • Unlike Attorney Jalila Bell, this Black female lawyer who also happens to be an ex-Army lieutenant won’t ever March to support spoiled racist suburban white women, LGBTQPerverted Nazis or radical Muslim terrorists! These marches are sponsored by sore losers Killary and mad Bubba, Obamanation and other hypocritical perverts. These bored suburban white women who already have elite gym memberships and state-of-the-art kitchens need to go walk on the treadmill and get in the kitchen and bake cookies for the PTA. They’re the ones who raised these white male racists and sexist. Are they protesting their disappointment for centuries of BAD PARENTING? They are the Dr. Frankenstein’s whose white male monsters have turned against them and heaped destruction on everyone else.

    The LGBTQPerverts miss that perverted Obamanation who fueled their Nazist GayStopple and Gay Brigade with weapons of mass moral destruction. The only speaker they could get was an old, washed up, bleached blond, ex-Panther who wouldn’t miss a day without sleeping with a white woman. That goes for Harry Belefonte too. These marches are nothing but a bunch of self-serving rebellions without a real cause except to show support for their DE-FEETED sore losers: The Killary Clintonistas. They show a blatant disrespect, whether you like him or not, for the elective process and commander in chief. I was in the military under The RayGun Regime– racist white women put him and The Burning Bushes in office three times. I say to these racist white !3itches and their leaders and speakers: HEAL THYSELF and go rock the cradle of your grandchildren and try not to muck (=mother+f@ck) them up! A day without a racist white !3itch for this Black woman would be like a day in Heaven.

    • Charity Dell

      There is NO reason why anyone should “respect” The Dumpy Donmeister.
      Dumpy Trump EARNED–and is still earning–the DISRESPECT that he
      easily dished out to others during his election campaign.

      1. Dumpy refused to educate himself equal to his “office” and by his own admission,
      declared that he “did not read magazines and books. Others read them and
      tell me what’s in them.” If you cannot and will not read ANYTHING in a magazine
      or book, you cannot make informed decisions on ANY government policy, nor
      can you FORMULATE any coherent domestic or foreign policy.

      2. He should be arrested, tried, impeached and IMPRISONED for his treason
      with the RUSSIANS, known HOSTILE ENEMIES OF THE UNITED STATES.

      3. Anyone who WILL NOT LISTEN to SEVENTEEN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES
      is simply not fit to handle affairs of state.

  • Women’s strike may be proper in this instance – Trump being a nominal Republican who defeated a female opponent, whilst women are one of the Democrats’ four pillars, according to perennial (quadrennial?) Democrat political mover-and-shaker Donna Brazile, who once said that the Democrats were women, unions, blacks and other minorities, and homosexuals. Or, putting it another way, as many have often pointed out, if women suddenly couldn’t vote, we’d never have another Democrat President.

  • I don’t think the problem was the White women who voted, including me — but never for Trump! — but all of the people who normally vote, who turned out for President Obama, but didn’t vote this time, or “threw away” their vote on a third-party candidate.

    • GRANNYBUNNY–You so smart and stuff :-)
      The election was lost to Hilary for a NUMBER of reasons–there were MULTIPLE FACTORS, including:

      1. Extreme Voter Suppression in various states;

      2. Disillusionment with the entire government “establishment”–so folks were willing to
      just “try someone new;”

      3. Failure of the Democratic campaign to accurately gauge–and adjust their strategies
      to–the Rust Belt states;

      4. All the ethnic minority males who also voted for a MALE because “no woman is gonna
      tell ME what to do!”

      5. The Great White Male Savior Syndrome (GWMSS)–the backlash of those who desired
      Trump to ride in on his Steed of Frosty Whiteness to “save them” from the hordes of educated
      white women and ethnic minorities, whom they see as “taking over the country.” These “hordes”
      include the 40% of us who were not born with a CERTIFIED WHITE CARD.

      6. The Beaver Cleaver Klatch–the demographic that desperately desired a return to the
      comfy, cozy White Suburban Dream World of “Leave It To Beaver.”

      These are not the only factors, but these factors enabled the Dumpy Donmeister to ascend
      to an office for which he has NO education/qualifications commensurate to the job.

      In 48 years since his graduation from Wharton, your President-Select* has never earned
      ANY graduate degree of any kind; nor taken course work in ANY field that would enhance
      his skill-set with affairs of state.

      *Selected by the Electoral College.

      GOD HELP AMERICA!

« Previous Article     Next Article »