The Women's Strike Is The Next Big Protest
The day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, millions around the world joined together for the Women's March on Washington, an event that, despite its name, drew participants from around the world. Marches and rallies occurred on all seven continents (yes, including Antarctica) as women and allies joined together to protest the new president's history of sexist comments. Protests and demonstrations have continued since the Women's March, and there is now a Women's Strike planned to continue the march's success.
In the days leading up to and, arguably, even more in the days following, the Women's March took over newspaper front pages across the world. In the weeks since the march, participants, many of whom were first-time protesters, are learning how to incorporate protest into their everyday lives. Members of Congress report being "deluged" with phone calls, according to CNN, from constituents calling to voice their opinions on Cabinet nominees, Trump's executive orders, and other issues.
Now, it seems, the Women's March was truly just the first in a long series of efforts by the American electorate to make their voices heard. Last week, march organizers announced their second major initiative: a general women's strike, called A Day Without A Woman, to be held at a future date.
Although the date has not been announced, march organizers have already demonstrated their ability to organize quickly: the Women's March was inspired by the election results in November but grew to a major international event by January. TheWashington Post reported that Feb. 17 and May 1 are both being suggested as dates. The former may seem like short notice for a strike only announced this week. Then again, in recent weeks, other strikes, notably a taxi driver strike and a Yemeni bodega strike, both concerned with the travel ban, have occurred with very little notice.
Will a strike work? Women's strikes have occurred throughout the world for various reasons — defending reproductive rights, demanding equal pay, and other reasons — and some seem to have been successful. In October of last year, Polish legislators backed off a proposed total ban on abortions after a massive women's strike on "Black Monday."
The recent #GrabYourWallet boycott sought to persuade retailers to stop selling Ivanka Trump-brand products. Since the boycott began, both Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus have recently announced their intentions to stop selling such products. The department stores said the move was officially due to declining sales, which suggests people are, indeed, grabbing their wallets and producing concrete results.
The apparent success of #GrabYourWallet also indicates that women can effectively use their economic might to affect change; the upcoming women's strike will be an even stronger test of this power.