Post # 1
Is anyone participating in the “Day Without a Woman” protest? If so — can you clue me in on what the goal of the protest is? I’ve tried reading up on their website, but a lot of the information is contradictory, and it’s not very clear what the ultimate goal is. Is it income equality? Reproductive rights? Family leave? All of these things are lumped in the description, but none are highlighted as a key cause. If you are to protest, shouldn’t the cause be clear?
Two school districts near me closed today because so many teachers asked for the day off — which, as the teachers pointed out, inadvertently hurt working women (and men, but they only said women) even more, having to scramble for childcare options for an unplanned day off.
Please don’t construe this as an attack on the protest or equality. I’m honestly just confused about the point of this protest.
Post # 2
JiminyCricket : I believe the focus is closing the income gap, healthcare services, and a general protest against the POTUS being a sexist pig.
I’m a teacher and our district consider closing. We are right next to Chapel Hill which made national news for closing, but as our families are much less affluent than CH families our superintendent decided we should open. Sadly the very poor families are the ones who need this reform the most.
I am pretty worried about what today will look like today at school, I’m going in but I know many, many of my coworkers will not be there.
Post # 3
carolinabelle : I guess my confusion comes from the fact that these are all huge issues in and of themselves, and lumping them all together takes the focus off of each one and just seems like a jumble. Have any suggestions been made by the groups protesting on how to solve this, or is this just to voice discontent? If it’s the latter — I have a hard time believing Commander Cheeto is going to be paying much attention to this and suddenly come around to bring an idea to actually promote change.
So, I guess my point is the “so what.” If there’s a protest today — there should be an end goal. Grassroots movements, information getting out to voters, lobbying legislators. From what I’ve read (and I’m in the immediate DC area, so protests get a lot of coverage here), this isn’t really happening. Right now it just seems to me like teachers are the only community really taking charge here, so the people who will notice are parents who are scrambling for childcare on an unplanned day off, and I doubt that’s the best way to increase support for the movement at a local level.
Post # 4
I don’t get it either. Interested to read the responses.
Post # 5
JiminyCricket : I agree it should be more focused and there should be more push to participate from people from all sectors. I do think it’s disproportionately obvious that teachers are participating because aside from nursing it seems like the one field that truly HAS to shut down if the women are out. At my school there are 600 students and 6 male staff – no male admin, no male cafeteria cooks, 2 male bus drivers. If everyone participated it’s impossible for the school to run. Of course that doesn’t help if the public doesn’t get why we’re protesting and they just get frustrated at the teachers for staying out. I had a similar vibe from day without immigrants, it just didn’t seem as powerful and far reaching as it should have been. In fact teachers I know commented that it was a way easier day – smaller class sizes and no translating needed. Which is not the message we want to send obviously.
Post # 6
I’m a teacher and I am going into work. I feel that supporting my students with a strong female presence in their classroom is the best way I can take part in women’s day aside from staying home. I’ll still be wearing red and refraining from making purchases today.
I also understand the teachers who feel strongly about displaying what it would look like without them in the workforce and I’m not going to hold it against my coworkers if they call out.
Post # 7
carolinabelle : Agreed — and I don’t think people in the medical field can get the day off like this to join in — the consequences literally could be life and death. I think if there was better messaging leading up to it, it could have been way more effective. I went to their website yesterday to read up on it, and even after that, I couldn’t figure out the real goal.
The idea behind these protests (Day without women, day without immigrants) is really interesting and could be far-reaching if everyone participated, but like you pointed out earlier, the people who need the reform most really can’t afford to take a day unpaid to protest. I don’t think there’s a way around that, so it seems like other methods (traditional lobbying, grassroots movements, community mobilization at a local level) are going to be key in making changes here, and not another protest. I hate to say it, but living in the DC area, there are just protests left and right and very few people are paying attention to their messages.
Post # 8
Part of the strike is speaking with our dollars and not spending any money today – unless it’s at businesses owned by women or people of color. I feel like that has the potential to make more of an impact than people taking the day off here and there, which is what’s happening in my area.
I also agree and don’t really expect any changes to come directly from striking today, but at least for me personally protests energize me and motivate me to stay involved in my community. Also some of the women I know that are striking are using the day to write letters and make phone calls to legislators, so it’s not necessarily just a “day off.”
Personally I’m not taking the day off work. I’m a teacher in a low income district and taking a day off just creates more work, and I’ve been out a lot recently for coaching so it’s in my students’ best interest for me to be in the classroom.
Post # 9
JiminyCricket : I’m also in DC and I’m still at work. My female coworkers all appear to be here. I’m also not really sure what the protest is hoping to accomplish – I will avoid spending money today, but I’m not sure how much impact that will have. My best friend’s school is closed today (she’s a teacher in SC). My coworkers here weren’t even talking about it (we’re attorneys if that matters).
Post # 10
I think the main goal, as I understand it, is to generally highlight the importance of women in America. If more people finally realize that society can’t function without women, who have been ignored disadvantaged in many ways, then maybe they’ll realize “Oh, we literally can’t do these things because there are no/few women to help out. Let’s support them more fully, and listen to their concerns.” And our concerns are access to healthcare, equal pay, etc., as you mentioned above. The whole point is to make life more complicated for the people who don’t have to constantly worry about these things, in an effort to wake people up to the problems facing women.
Of course, not all women have the ability to strike today, and the organizers made sure to provide other ways (like wearing red and not buying anything) for those women to be able to participate and make an impact. Imagine if a whole school’s worth of teachers showed up in red today– that would make a statement, too.
I’m really interested to see how this all plays out. This New Yorker article does a good job of discussing the concerns people have had about today’s protest, as well as the positives and potential impact of it, and I’ve found it to be good food for thought: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/jia-tolentino/the-womens-strike-and-the-messy-space-of-change
Post # 11
snugglebutt : My thought with the not buying anything is that unless women are going to make this a forever change, the stores won’t see a profit drop. You’ll go to walmart tomorrow instead of today. At the end of the month, Walmart’s sales won’t suffer. Maybe one day will be slow in the store, but unless everyone made a change to stop using stores like amazon, target, walmart and ONLY purchased from small, minority owned businesses, there’s no real impact.
Stores like walmart, amazon, target also employ tons of women. If we boycott those stores, what does that do to all the women or minorities who are employed there?
It reminds me of when people in my area boycotted gas stations to drive the prices down. Everyone still drove the same amount, so if I didn’t buy gas on Monday, I bought gas on Tuesday. No real impact to the business.
Post # 11
Much like the “Day without Immigrants” that happened recently, the goal from my perspective is to show people how prominent and important women are in their lives, and how much their sacrifices and inequalities are taken for granted. I am a teacher as well and am at work today (wearing red!). I understand that it could be just as helpful as hurtful, but then again protest is supposed to be disruptive and inconvenient. There is a pretty powerful graphic about BLM protests, for example, that shows different protest pictures and regardless of the impact on others, people find reason to be offended.
Knowing my district in particular I do find it interesting that districts are “forced” to close because of teachers requesting off–that just doesn’t happen here. If there aren’t enough subs, you don’t get your day off, and if you refuse to show up anyway there are pretty big consequences for that. In 2011 there was some pretty demoralizing legislation passed that had a big impact on teachers, and there were districts that did close because teachers refused to show up so they could go to Madison to protest. Those teachers were definitely reprimanded in several of the districts I know of. I love my job because I get to talk about and model equity and equality every day!
Post # 12
There have been many attacks on women and minorities in government, A day without a woman proves that without women we don’t have a functioning society (what happened with your local school is a great example). I think it’s hard to focus on just one issue because they’re all simultaneous and important. It’s simply an attack on women that needs to end all together.
I couldn’t take the day off because I need to save those days for later in the year =\ (it’s gonna be a busy year) but I am wearing red, I’m only purchasing products from women and minority owned businesses (like my coffee), and I plan to donate to planned parenthood later today.
Post # 13
- Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL
Unfortunately, just like the immigrant walk out last month, I believe this will only work for women of privilege. I work from home for the next 2 weeks – and I don’t think anyone would notice if I took the day off anyways. I am very privileged to be a salaried employee with a flexible schedule.
To answer your question, though, it is to show that women are a large contributing factor to the workforce, and that their absense for just 1 day will greatly impact the economy on local and global scales… demonstrating our need for equal pay, hiring equality and other issues you mentioned.
I think people should “vote with their money” in addition to walk-outs. Look at Ivanka’s brand tanking and no longer being carried by Nordstrom. If we use our dollars as our voices, we will be heard, believe me. Women contribute to 70-80% of all consumer purchases.
Post # 14
For those of you who do not know the international history of strikes like this:
See the 1975 Icelandic Women’s Strike. I’m not American, but from my understanding there is very little education in Eurpean history over there.