Women Strike Back: Preparations being made for International Women's Day

Nayaba Arinde and Chereese Sheen | 3/2/2017, 10:43 a.m.
Approximately six weeks after the Women’s March that took over the country, A Day Without a Woman plans to do ...
Young ladies of the Creole Big Apple Volleyball Club pose in honor of next week's Day of Absence. Chereese Sheen

Approximately six weeks after the Women’s March that took over the country, A Day Without a Woman plans to do the same.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, women are being encouraged to come together to recognize the value women of all backgrounds add to the socioeconomic system.

On this day, women across the world are expected to “join forces for a one-day strike and demonstration of economic solidarity.”

The issues that the organizers are mostly focused on, but not limited to, are pervasive and systemic gender-based inequalities in society, the wage gap and discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurity. The day seems to reflect the tenets of Dr. Carlos Russell’s Black Solidarity Day, which was based on Douglas Turner Ward’s 1965 play “Day of Absence,” in which Black folks disappear from a Southern town with dramatic effects. Last month’s Day Without Immigrants and the Yemini-led bodega strike had the same intent.

In the vein of you never know what you have ‘til it is gone, women who participate in the March 8 action want to emphasize their majority contributions to the everyday running of these United States. It comes in the wake of weeks of postelection/inauguration rumblings about feelings of underappreciation and fears of President Donald Trump’s possible assaults on women’s rights.

Organizers say that as women and allies across the world prepare for A Day Without a Woman, the emphasis is “a demonstration to spotlight the indispensable role women play in the daily functions of life in all of society, through paid and unpaid, seen and unseen labor.” Co-organizer and national activist, Harlem’s own Tamika Mallory, said that women are organizing supportive actions worldwide, national and local.

“We want to highlight the economic power and significance that women have on the U.S. and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face,” said Mallory.

She added that organizers are encouraging all people to partake in several different ways. She suggested, “Wear red, the color of signifying revolutionary love and sacrifice. Only spend money at small, women- and minority-owned businesses for the day. Women take the day off from paid and unpaid labor. Male allies to ask for equal pay and adequate paid family leave for women.”

Mallory suggested, too, that “businesses close for the day or [give] women workers the day off and audit policies impacting women and their families” and that “households give a paid day off to caregivers, nannies, housekeepers and elder care.” And for those able to strike, Mallory suggested, “Spend time attending rallies and marches, supporting local groups and building community with each other.”

Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” and an assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, is one of the women who demanded the strike on International Women’s Day.

“The strike is about highlighting the ways that ‘women’s work’ or ‘women’s labor’ is at times unseen,” said Taylor. “[The work done by women] can be undervalued and underpaid. The strike is about drawing attention to that by, in effect, extracting those many different manifestations of women’s labor March 8 to highlight the extent to which women’s labor continues to play a central role in the political and, I would say, social economy of the United States.”

Activist Erica Ford, CEO of LIFE Camp, Inc., told the Amsterdam News, “I am 1,000 percent in support of the Women’s Day of Absence. I think the way to make a real impact is to take ourselves out of this system.”

Mallory concluded, “A Day Without a Woman recognizes the crucial 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. Furthermore, acknowledging that trans and gender nonconforming people face heightened levels of discrimination, social oppression and political targeting.”

For more information about A Day Without a Woman, log on to https://www.womensmarch.com/womensday/.