Why You Might See Fewer Women on Wednesday

March 4th 2017

Although some men in America believe it’s easier to be a woman, that simply isn’t the case — and women are planning to remind men of that.

Unfortunately, there's ample proof that the United States is falling behind in gender equality: women earn 83 percent of what men make, there are no comprehensive measures allowing for maternity leave, and, while the number of women in Congress is at an all time high, women still account for only a fifth of government representatives.

These are big problems —and women are not resting idly hoping for change.

In fact, organizers are planning a big action on Wednesday, March 8. In addition to it being International Women’s Day, and March being Women’s History Month, it’s A Day Without A Woman, a demonstration where women will “disappear” from the workforce and economy for the day.

The event was spawned by Women’s March On Washington organizers and is inspired by recent economic protests like the Yemeni bodega strike, #GrabYourWallet, and A Day Without Immigrants. Backed by Amnesty International, A Day Without A Woman hopes women will take a day off, avoid spending money, and wear red in solidarity.

Lisa Cutter of March On Colorado is helping organize the event in Denver. “We’re suggesting women take the day off from either paid or unpaid labor,” she told ATTN:. “We’re urging them to do it the right way — taking a sick day or comp day — and to not run afoul of their employers.... We don’t want anyone to get in trouble at work.”

In addition to peaceful protests, workshops, and opportunities for self-care, Cutter says the day is about recognizing the value of women in a way that is often overlooked. “Women of all kinds of economic backgrounds add to our socioeconomic system and they receive lower wages, greater inequities, are vulnerable to discrimination and sexual harassment, job insecurity," she explained.

Ellen Crafts of Women’s March Foundation LA concurs. “Our hashtag when we first started this was #HearOurVoice and I think that really sums it up in a nutshell,” she told ATTN: “We want to continue to bring forth the power of women as a part of our society.”

While all involved hope to carry on the momentum from the Women’s March, there have been some reservations.

“We got a lot of feedback from our people, that it’s a Wednesday and they have to work,” Crafts said. “Is this a question of privilege, to say that we’re going to strike or be absent on a day where that is a challenge for women who are economically challenged or under threat? That’s a legitimate concern.”

Fortunately, there are opportunities to get involved even if you have to work. Destiny Lopez, co-director of All Above All, said there's many ways to take part. “You could avoid shopping for one day to show our economic power or support a small women- or minority-owned business to show solidarity,” Lopez explained. “It’s a good opportunity to make a donation to a cause you care about. Whatever that size of that donation is I think is meaningful.”

On top of showing support online via social media, Lopez suggests taking time to call state and federal representatives to voice concerns about issues like abortion and healthcare. “I think that’s a really easy thing,” she said. “You can take five minutes out of your day to make a call.”

If you feel comfortable doing so at work, discuss with coworkers the problems that women face, Lopez said.

“Go to the break room, go to the water cooler, and ask people whether they’re aware of what’s happening on the day,” Lopez said. “Educate them on the value that women have in our society. Wear red and ask people if they know why you’re wearing red today. Use that as a way to have that conversation about the strike.”

Lopez sees the day as a reminder of the many benefits of gender equality. “When women do better, we all do better as a country,” she said. “When women can make choices and have access to wealth, we all do better as a country.”

This fight is about more than women.

Cutter explained: “It’s really, really important for us that we’re standing up for all marginalized people. We’re women and using our voices and our strengths to come together but women are the mothers of society: we care about everybody and about everybody being equal.”

Whether you can take the day to demonstrate or not, what’s important is that people are staying involved.

“If you’re angry, if you’re upset, if you’re happy: participate,” Crafts said. “That’s the beauty of democracy. We’re not all going to agree but we all need to participate in order for this democracy to be healthy and to move forward.”

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