A Day Without a Woman
Tomorrow, March 8 marks not only International Women’s Day, but “A Day Without a Woman”. The planned strike aims to see half the world’s female population opt out of the global economy for a day– in other words pulling a sickie, although this time it’s true. Women are sick of the tireless fight for equal rights in every thinkable manner. The date marks an important time historically; March 8, 1908, thousands of women marched in New York City, all who were working in the textile and garment productive labor industry, marched for fair wages and expanded political rights. Almost one hundred years later and here we are.
While tomorrow aims to build momentum in women’s rights, it does deem a somewhat exclusionary aspect. Though it has been recognized not all women can participate in taking the day off work (me), simply for reasons of actually losing their jobs, not making ends meet to feed their children, and so on, you can also take the day off from your unpaid reproductive labor (yes! no cleaning!). If every woman across the globe actually had the right to make a choice based on her injustices there probably wouldn’t even be a call to strike. This reinforces the very injustices women (and men) face in society, because we have no power, no choice, and we simply are slaves to the modern industrial economic system. Everywhere we are in chains. But, who has the courage to test their employer? Who has the choice to go unpaid? If every woman across the globe truly had the choice and the right to participate I’m certain she would, however this is not the case.
Accordingly, if every woman in the US workforce took to strike, approximately half the workforce would be gone. What would your work place look like? Our offices, our coffee shops, hospitals, stores, banks, farms, chambers, court rooms, factories, what would they look like? Our civil society depends on the interchangeable economic, productive, social, and reproductive values both women and men provide. Naturally nurturing or reproductive social roles have found their way into the bent molds of our labor productive society, places such as hospitals and class rooms, of which have become part of the global economy. If both women and men provide intrinsic value in our civil and economic society, what constitutes higher capital reward for men over women? The message of the strike needs to pierce the undervalued notion of women’s productive and reproductive labor, and in turn direct momentum for closing issues like the gender wage gap, among other things. This day speaks not only to the economic power women hold in our globalized society, but speaks even more so to the lack of power we hold collectively.
Our sick depend on her, our young depend on her, our hungry depend on her, our schools depend on her, are old depend on her, our rich depend on her, our creative depend on her– our society depends on her.
A Day Without a Woman is about empowerment, rights, and equality. For those of who have the privilege to participate, be the advocate, be the spirit, and leverage for those who cannot. And for those who are participating vicariously at work, be the spirit, be the voice, and be the example for change. Let us continue to empower every woman tomorrow, because solidarity and unity is what equality needs.
Because without her, we are not.