Women’s March organizers announced on Thursday the call to action for “A Day Without a Woman,” a strike planned for March 8 — International Women’s Day.
Organizers are encouraging women to take the day off from paid and unpaid labor, and for supporters of the movement to only spend money at small, women- and minority-owned businesses. There is a specific call for “male allies” to use the day to “call out decision-makers at the workplace and in the government to extend equal pay and adequate paid family leave for women.”
“Businesses are participating by closing for the day or giving women workers the day off, and by auditing how their policies impact women and their families,” Women’s March organizers said.
“Many households that rely on caregivers, nannies, housekeepers and elder care will grant a paid day off in a show of respect and solidarity for the importance of care work.”
On January 21, hundreds of thousands of protesters in the U.S. and abroad participated in women’s marches in opposition to the policies of President Donald Trump. Many women wore knitted, pink cat-eared hats in support of the Pussyhat Project to protest Trump’s recorded comments regarding women.
“We have to fight harder than we’ve ever fought before,” Jalila Bell, a women’s march attendee, told DiversityInc.
However, for Wednesday’s strike, organizers are encouraging participants to wear red attire to show solidarity as the color signifies “revolutionary love and sacrifice.”
“We want this to be a day where women feel empowered to take a stance on their value in the workplace and the world beyond,” said Cassady Fendlay, a national spokesperson with the Women’s March.
Organizers did note that it might not be feasible for everyone who supports the cause to participate in a strike. But they suggest those who are able to strike attend rallies and marches for International Women’s Day and support or volunteer with local groups.
“While the most impactful way would be to take the day off, we realize that many women in our most vulnerable communities or whose jobs provide essential services, including reproductive health services, will not have the ability to join the strike,” Fendlay said.
“We strike for each of them and we look forward to seeing the creative ways both men and women will showcase their support.”
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.
Organizers said “A Day Without a Woman” recognizes the value that women of all backgrounds add to the socio-economic system, “all while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurity.”
According to Pew Research Center, women across all races and ethnicities earn less than white men, and men in their own racial or ethnic group.
Asian women earned 87 cents per dollar earned by a white man in 2015, white women 82 cents per dollar, Black women 65 cents per dollar and Latinas 58 cents per dollar.
The American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) research, “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap,” states:
“At the rate of change between 1960 and 2015, women are expected to reach pay equity with men in 2059. But even that slow progress has stalled in recent years. If change continues at the slower rate seen since 2001, women will not reach pay equity with men until 2152.”
Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, told DiversityInc that she viewed the Women’s March in January as the “un-Inauguration” of President Donald Trump.
“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.’
“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.”
Alexander-Floyd 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.
“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,” she said.
Alexander-Floyd also noted, “There is no self-evident common ground that all women share and by which they are motivated. We are diverse experientially, ideologically and in terms of our backgrounds and priorities.”
The Women’s March stated that it “stands in solidarity with the feminists of color, organizers and grassroots groups that are planning global actions for equity, justice and human rights on March 8.”