Women Encouraged to Skip Work, Avoid Shopping and Wear Red for International Women’s Day

By Kim Hughes 3/7/17 | www.samaritanmag.com

Screenshot from International Women's Day 2017 video.

Anyone still galvanized by last January’s much-covered Women’s March, which saw an estimated five million people worldwide protest everything from gender inequality to immigrant and LGBTQ subjugation will want to circle Wednesday, March 8 on the calendar, International Women's Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186.

"Progress has slowed in many places across the world," it states on the site, "so global action is needed to accelerate gender parity. In 2016 leaders across the world pledged to take action as champions of gender parity
- not only for International Women's Day, but for every day. Groups and individuals also pledged their support."

#BeBoldForChange is this year's theme and the charity is asking "the masses... to help forge a better working world - a more inclusive, gender equal world."

One initiatve, A Day Without A Woman, a follow-up to the above-mentioned event also organized by Women’s March on Washington, aims the fight where businesses and politicians will feel it most: the bottom line.

Women everywhere (and their supporters) are encouraged to skip work, avoid shopping (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses) and to wear red as a show of solidarity.

Indeed, the Women’s March on Washington website provides a template of a letter that women can use to inform their employers of their plans on March 8.

The letter reads in part, “A Day Without A Woman is a recognition of the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system — and the pervasive and systemic gender-based inequalities that still exist within our society, from the wage gap, to vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”

It continues, “I hope you will stand in support of me, and any of my women colleagues who choose to participate, in observance of this day. Places of employment can participate by closing for the day or giving women workers the day off, whether paid or unpaid. Even more important than the symbolism of standing with women on March 8, the Women’s March is asking all employers to perform an audit of their policies impacting women and families.

“By ensuring that women have pay equity, a liveable wage and paid leave, businesses can demonstrate that their long-term actions align with the values we are standing up for on this day.”

The A Day Without A Woman protest — which not coincidentally falls on International Women's Day — is part of a strategic 100-day campaign led by Women’s March and aimed more or less at U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration, although clearly issues of gender equality run deeper and wider than Washington, D.C.

Judging by the comprehensive and easily navigable Women’s March website, would-be protesters across North America are well-equipped to execute locally. Multiple networking tools and other resources are available at the site, including downloadable graphics for social media use and general signage (including signage for businesses that opt to close) as well as fundraising, legal and volunteering portals.

For American site users, stacks of statistics are available for reference when contacting members of Congress about everything from health care to gun violence to U.S. immigration policies.

Perhaps the most powerful and persuasive statement on the site is this: “When millions of us stood together in January, we saw clearly that our army of love greatly outnumbers that of fear, greed and hatred.

“Let's raise our voices together again, to say that women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability.”

Nothing lights the fire of protest quite like oppression.



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