How To Support The Women Who Can't Take The Day Off For The "A Day Without A Woman" Strike
March 8, 2017, this year's International Women's Day, is also the date of the "A Day Without A Woman" strike, which was put together by the organizers of the Women's March on Washington. It's a day when women are encouraged to take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor, avoid shopping except at small business run by women and minorities, and are encouraged to wear red to mark themselves as allies.
If you supported the Women's March, the idea is to continue along the same lines. The Women's March website explains:
"In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women's March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing 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. We recognize that trans and gender nonconforming people face heightened levels of discrimination, social oppression and political targeting. We believe in gender justice."
I think it's a great way to show the huge impact of women everywhere. But we need to remember that not every woman who isn't participating is unsupportive of the cause. Some women can't, just can't, take the day off. Whether it's for fear of being punished or they're just not being able to afford it, we need to remember not everyone is able to participate. So here's what you can do for them.
1. Encourage Them To Wear Red
Not everyone can participate in every way, but they can still show their politics and their support the cause by wearing red. "We have chosen red as a color of signifying revolutionary love and sacrifice. Red is the color of energy and action associated with our will to survive. It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination. It also has a history of being associated with the labor movement," the Women's March site says.
Remind women that they can be a big part of the day of even if they have to work.
2. Watch Your Rhetoric
Sometimes, when we're talking about a charged political issue we can start to use really polarized, blameful language. Speaking in terms like 'anyone who doesn't participate' or 'how could anyone'. Try to think about how you're speaking out the day and how it could come across to someone who wanted to participate but couldn't. The movement recognizes that that will be the case for many women.
"Many women in our most vulnerable communities will not have the ability to join the strike, due to economic insecurity," the Women's March website explains. "We strike for them. Many others work jobs that provide essential services, including reproductive health services, and taking off work would come at a great social cost. We recognize the value of their contribution." You should too.
3. Keep Them Involved
If you know someone who wishes they were participating but can't be there, try to keep them in the loop. Send them messages letting them know you're thinking of them and, if you're participating in any marches or other activities, let them know how it's going. If you remind them that you understand why they can't participate, they should feel better about it too.
It's a big day. A Day Without Out A Woman and International Women's Day— these things feel more important now than ever. So make sure you're supporting everyone, including women who can't take the day off.