Women all around the United States plan to use today, International Women's Day, to stay home from work and stage demonstrations to, among other things, continue their opposition efforts against the Trump administration and call attention to the gender pay gap.
In addition to not working, a great perk for protesters by itself, organizers suggest women wear red and also avoid spending money, the latter of which many men around the country undoubtedly wish their wives would observe in perpetuity. But if they just have to spend money, protest organizers suggest women only do so at women-owned businesses (which would seem difficult since those women-owned businesses should be closed in solidarity...but we digress). “It would pretty much shut down the economy if all women bought nothing,” said Michael Englund, the chief economist at Action Economics, a financial analysis firm. “It is a question of participation. I've never seen any boycott or protest ever affect GDP numbers.”
Organizers are attempting to repeat tactics from the Jan. 21 women's march on Washington and other cities that came together largely through social media.
Of course, this "Day Without Women" protest is intended to mimic the recent "Day Without Immigrants" protest in which "undocumented, residents, citizens, immigrants from all over the world" were encouraged to stay home from work and not spend money.
In a world where companies are increasingly forced to take political sides, some businesses are voluntarily giving their female employees the day off to protest. The women’s website Bustle, for example, won’t publish any new content Wednesday; employees can participate in an optional volunteer day or strike. “It seems like a really interesting opportunity to showcase what a day is like without women,” said Editor-in-Chief Kate Ward. NARAL Pro-Choice America has also closed its Washington, D.C., office.
Meanwhile, more than 300 public school teachers in Alexandria, Va., requested the day off work, prompting the school district to shut down for the day. A school district in North Carolina has also canceled classes. Instead of striking, teachers at the Horace Mann School, a private school in New York, plan to lead silent activities and teach lessons focusing on the contributions of women.
As Bloomberg points out, today's "Day Without Women" strike is intended to be an escalation in protest efforts to "reintroduce the notion of strike in the political lexicon of this country."
A general work stoppage suggests that, at least in theory, the strikers could grind the economy to a halt by refusing to participate in it, or at least make enough noise to get attention. But the March 8 strike has a more modest and potentially subversive goal: “We want to reintroduce the notion of strike in the political lexicon of this country,” said Lamis Deek, a human-rights attorney and one of the organizers of the Day Without Women.
A strike, with its implied threat, is a more aggressive form of protest than a Saturday-afternoon march like the ones held nationwide on Jan. 21, and the organizers hope Wednesday is just the beginning. “A lot of what people are trying to do is start to rebuild a muscle,” said Janice Fine, a professor of labor studies at Rutgers University. “They are trying to get people to think about how they might participate.”
Of course, just like some of the immigrants that decided to skip work at the ironically named "I Don't Care" Bar and Grill in Catoosa, Oklahoma last month for the "Day Without Immigrants" protest, we suspect some of these women just might find themselves unemployed for their efforts.