ednesday, March 8 is International Women's Day, and it will also now be known as the "Day Without a Woman."
Grassroots activists who organized the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017, a rally for women's rights and the rights of oppressed people of all backgrounds, are behind this idea for a one-day strike for women around the globe.
And the effect it's having is very real.
Dozens of schools up and down the East Coast of the U.S. have announced that they'll be closed on March 8 because many of their teachers will be participating in the "Day Without a Woman" strike.
The idea of the women's strike is to make extremely clear the impact women have on everyday life and the significance of their contributions to society.
Strike organizers are asking women to skip work off all kinds (paid, unpaid, emotional labor), wear red in solidarity, and/or avoid spending money for the day.
And it was already working before it began. Many schools must close their doors for the day because their employees plan to participate in the strike. This highlights just how essential women are to education; more than three-quarters of kindergarten to high school teachers in the U.S. are women.
Sixteen public schools in Alexandria, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; and Brooklyn, NY have canceled classes on March 8 in anticipation of staff shortages.
Maple Street School in Brooklyn sent this letter to parents, explaining their support for the strike:
“At Maple Street we have taught our kids, your kids, to have a voice, to use their words kindly but firmly, to always have a plan and think about the how and the why. We practice with them how to protest, how to march for a cause, the importance of giving back to their communities, how to identify injustice and we show them how much we love and truly support their diverse lives, personalities and family by embracing their individuality rather than pretending it’s not there… [In] this spirit, we as a staff will show our kids that not only do we talk the talk but we do actually practice all that we teach them.”
The strike is also affecting higher education institutions.
The New School in New York supported the strike after twenty female faculty members wrote a letter to their colleagues urging them to cancel classes.
The school granted teachers flexibility in canceling classes and even encouraged faculty not to mark students absent if students have expressed intention to partake in the strike.
While not every woman is able to take off work on March 8, the "Day Without a Woman" is no doubt sending a powerful message to everyone around the world.
Women are important.
Women are powerful.
Women are indispensable.