Whether you can take the day off or not
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After an unprecedented turnout in January, Women’s March organizers are calling on women and their allies to strike once more on Wednesday, March 8. This strike will coincide with International Women’s Day and will work in tandem with the International Women’s Strike, which has been in the works long before Trump won the presidency.
According to the Women’s March website, there are a few primary ways you can participate in this Wednesday’s general strike:
1. Women take the day off work—whether you are paid or unpaid.
2. Refrain from shopping for the day—or if you must shop, choose small, women- and minority-owned businesses.
3. Wear red in solidarity with those participating in and supporting the strike.
While wearing red and saving money are straightforward, there’s been some confusion surrounding the call to take the day off. Let’s break down what that might actually look like.
Not showing up to your paid job means exactly that: Forgo your commute, ignore your emails, and stay off Slack for the day. Not showing up for unpaid labor means refraining from picking your boyfriend’s socks off the floor, leaving dishes in the sink, failing to replace the toothpaste or take care of the laundry—the list goes on and on. Whether you want to believe it or not, women typically take on the invisible workload of simply noticing things. Refusing to do this—if only for a day—can effectively reveal the disparity women silently shoulder.
Obviously, there are caveats. Not every woman can take the day off work without facing serious repercussions. There are single, working mothers who don’t have the luxury of abstaining from either paid or unpaid work. Even among the most privileged, you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who feels perfectly comfortable taking off from a job she worked so hard to earn. In the same way women don’t feel comfortable asking for equal pay, paid leave, or the same benefits as their male colleagues, the onus is on us to constantly prove we are valuable.
On that note, Cassady Fendlay, a national spokesperson for the Women’s March said in a press release,
“We want this to be a day where women feel empowered to take a stance on their value in the workplace and the world beyond. While the most impactful way would be to take the day off, we realize that many women in our most vulnerable communities or whose jobs provide essential services, including reproductive health services, will not have the ability to join the strike. We strike for each of them and we look forward to seeing the creative ways both men and women will showcase their support.”
In other words, those who feel they can take the day off have the responsibility to do so in order to represent the women who can’t. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should take the day to binge-watch RuPaul’s Drag Race (as restorative as that sounds). If you’re able, help a woman who doesn’t have the same privileges by offering to take on some of her responsibilities that day. Attend a protest in your area, organize a meeting of your own, or use the free time to better educate yourself on the issues at hand. Of course, there’s always the option of donating to the Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, or a local organization.
Women fought to have a role in the workplace, and now it’s up to all of us to fight for the respect they rightly deserve.