'A Day Without a Woman' sparks outpour of support, skepticism
In honor of International Women's Day, Women's March organizers have planned 'A Day Without a Woman' protests -- sparking support and skepticism.
In the wake of President Trump's 2016 election victory, protestors around the world turned out in numbers one day after Trump's inauguration to march in support of equal rights and in opposition to the new administration. On Wednesday, March 8, "anyone, anywhere" is invited to join in a follow-up Women's March event, described in an official press release as "a demonstration to spotlight the indispensable role women play in the daily functions of life in all of society, through paid & unpaid, seen and unseen labor."
The event website lists multiple ways people can participate in Wednesday's events, including women taking the day off from paid and unpaid work, only spending money at women and minority-owned businesses for the day and standing in solidarity by wearing the color red as a symbol of "revolutionary love and sacrifice."
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Many have begun announcing their Wednesday plans using the #ADayWithoutAWoman hashtag, but others have spoken out against the International Women's Day demonstration, rebuking the call for women to skip out on work as one of privilege and shortsightedness.
"While organized under the banner of a broad 'Women's March' to benefit all women, it is more accurately a progressive women's effort that excludes millions of women," writes Karin Agness for Forbes. "If participants in the Women's March are truly concerned about being behind in the workplace, they could take concrete actions that would immediately be more productive for women."
In an op-ed titled, "A Day Without a Woman is a strike for privileged protestors," Meghan Daum writes in opposition to what she believes is a privileged basis for Wednesday's demonstration, saying, "A Day Without a Woman plays into the idea that we entered the workforce not to support ourselves and our families but to combat boredom or to boost our self-esteem. For all but a very few affluent women, that's never been the case."
Still, the workforce is expected to see an attendance dip due to Wednesday's demonstration. All schools in Alexandria, Va., will be closed on Wednesday, after a reported 300 plus staff members requested the day off. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District will also shut down on Wednesday, where 75 percent of their employees are women.
"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. "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. We strike for each of them and we look forward to seeing the creative ways both men and women will showcase their support."
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While the Women's March website listed hundreds of partners for their Jan. 21 demonstration, the site shows some 31 endorsements as of Monday afternoon -- including Amnesty International, MoveOn.org and Alliance for Justice.
The White House has not issued any official statement relative to International Women's Day or "A Day Without a Woman" demonstrations.