International Women’s Day & A Day Without A Woman — What Does It All Mean?

Today is International Women’s Day: A day that celebrates the women’s rights movement and the continued struggle for equal rights. The day is representative of the many achievements made by women worldwide and their contributions to society, regardless of class, race, sexuality, etc. International Women’s Day occurs every year on March 8th, but this year’s celebration is going to be a little bit different.

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The first National Women’s Day occurred in the United States in 1909. Clearly many things have changed since then and the treatment of women has certainly improved, but that doesn’t mean the struggle for equality is over. The women who organized the Women’s March on Washington are taking it a step further by creating, “A Day Without a Woman.” This is a nationwide strike based in the struggle for equality and the fight for human rights for all.

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A Day Without a Woman is meant to, “recognize the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”

The leaders of the strike request that participants:

  1. Take the day off– The women participating will not go to work and college students participating will skip class.
  2. Avoid spending money– Do not spend money unless it is a small business or a business owned by a woman/minority.
  3. Wear Red– Even if you cannot participate in the strike itself, the group asks that those wishing to participate wear red in solidarity. The leaders chose red specifically because it, “signifies revolutionary love and sacrifice.”

Social media has become a major platform for the strike. Many of those participating have changed their profile pictures to a solid red picture with the Women’s March logo or added a border with the Women’s March logo to their existing picture. The point of this is to flood the internet with content about women’s rights and to get people talking.

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The Women’s March Facebook page is also circulating a photo that asks the question, “What do you strike for?” A few answers include, “for all the women around the world who are fighting for their rights,” and, “as a woman, I am not taken seriously and my issues are ignored.”

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In major cities, such as New York City and Washington, D.C, there will be gatherings of people participating in the strike starting at 12 p.m. Some members of the House, including Nancy Pelosi, will also be walking off the House floor today and wearing red along with the other protestors. This will be live streamed on the House Democrats’ Facebook page.

The strike will hopefully show just how important women are to the proper functioning of society. The leaders of the strike also realize that it is important to recognize strength in numbers. Roughly 5 million people are said to have participated in the Women’s March this passed January worldwide. If all of these women and their allies decided to take the day off and not purchase anything, who knows just how great of an impact this could have.

The leaders of the march and the strike urge men who support the cause to wear red in solidarity as well. They recognize that in order to make progress, women are going to need all the help and support we can get.

The Women’s March website urges women to, “raise our voices together again, to say that women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability.”

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