On January 21, President Donald Trump woke up on his first morning after taking office to half a million people protesting on his doorstep in the name of women's rights. On March 8, he'll find out what happens when women don't show up. National Women's Liberation has teamed up with the organizers of the Women's March on Washington — and its satellite protests everywhere from Australia to South Africa — to plan a "Day Without a Woman" on International Women's Day. Again, this will be a global affair. 30 countries around the world will be showing solidarity with women directly affected by the Trump administration's misogynistic policies.
"We strike for an end to racist and sexual assaults, and all forms of bigotry," reads the Women's Strike website. "Reproductive freedom, full access, and no coercion. National Health Care for all. A $15 minimum wage for all workers, no exceptions. Protection and expansion of Social Security Childcare, free like the public schools, and paid family leave."
This isn't to say that women will spend the day eating Seamless in PJs and pussy hats. Whether you're planning to go to work, stay home, or make a decision in the near future, here's everything you need to know.
Some women are unable to strike or forgo a day's wages. Unfortunately, those are the women made most vulnerable by racist and misogynistic policy. Some women fear the backlash that so often comes with taking a stand on political issues. How rights intersect with race and socioeconomic class is complex and those complexities are exactly what we need to be addressing.
This isn't just about Donald Trump.
The inauguration of a president who bragged about sexual assault and threatened to defund Planned Parenthood was the catalyst for the Women's March, but it's also just another symptom of the deteriorating life conditions of women around the world. The strike's organizers explained their desire to draw attention to this for The Guardian last month. "Lean-in feminism and other variants of corporate feminism have failed the overwhelming majority of us, who do not have access to individual self-promotion and advancement and whose conditions of life can be improved only through policies that defend social reproduction, secure reproductive justice and guarantee labor rights," they wrote. "As we see it, the new wave of women's mobilization must address all these concerns in a frontal way. It must be a feminism for the 99%."
Striking isn't the only way to show support.
A day without women isn't going to have much effect without widespread participation. But not showing up to work isn't a viable option for many people, and putting women at risk kinda defeats the purpose of this action. (The organizers recently published a letter that women can give to their employers explaining what the strike is about.) Luckily, there are many ways to have your voice heard and show solidarity. The strike's organizers are also asking people to wear red as a symbol of revolutionary love and sacrifice, and to refrain from spending money both IRL and online.
Think before you buy.
Not all businesses are off limits on March 8. The organizers encourage shopping at small, women-owned, and/or minority-owned business. Putting your wallet where your mouth is can be an effective way of making yourself heard. Since the election the hashtag campaign #GrabYourWallet has forced many large companies to either drop problematic products or make public statements about dangerous policies. If you haven't yet considered the people and interests your money is going towards, the strike is a good opportunity to do so.
Men can show solidarity by showing up to work.
One of the many encouraging things about the Women's March was the number of men who spent their Saturday standing up for women's rights. As they should! Women's rights are human rights, and policies that directly affect women impact all people. But men who want to support the strike should do so by showing up. Organizers are asking male allies to help out with caregiving on March 8 and to use the day to call on decision-makers in their workplace and in the White House to extend equal pay and adequate paid family leave for women.
A strike is not a vacation.
If you're able to not go to work on March 8, use the day for something productive. Since it's International Women's Day, there will be a few rallies and marches taking place in cities across the country — and across the world. But don't feel obligated to sign up for something officially associated with the strike. Volunteering at a local women's shelter or supporting a local advocacy group is a great way to get involved. If you are venturing outside of your own neighborhood, bring snacks and drinks from home to avoid buying them from the wrong businesses. And don't forget to post about it on Twitter and Instagram. Organizers are encouraging people to use the hashtag #ADayWithoutWomen and #IStrikeFor. They also have a bunch of graphics you can download and upload to your social profiles.
If you're in New York, the International Women's Strike has activities planned from 9:15am to 4pm. The full schedule is here.
There is a gathering at noon at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 59th Street, and a rally and march beginning at 4pm at Washington Square Park.
Text Hannah Ongley
Image courtesy of International Women's Strike USA