The Women’s March on Washington—and its international counterparts—was one of the most extensive and powerful demonstrations of social activism in modern history. And if what’s planned for International Women’s Day is any indicator, there are no signs of this type of action slowing down.
On March 8 women around the world will remove themselves from the economy to protest not just Donald Trump, but societal barriers that keep all women from achieving true equality. Though two events are being held—A Day Without a Woman, organized by the Women’s March, and the International Women’s Strike, a grassroots endeavor founded by a team of activists, feminists, and scholars—organizers are working together in solidarity to create a united message that represents women from all walks of life.
Interested in taking part in the day’s actions? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the goal of the women’s strike on March 8?
The strike is a lot more than just a response to Trump: Organizers want to combat decades-long socioeconomic inequality by calling for marginalized communities—working women, women of color, Native women, immigrant women, Muslim women, disabled women, and lesbian, queer, and trans women—to come together and make their voices heard. As the women behind IWS wrote in The Guardian, their goal is to create a new feminism, one that is representative of the “99 percent.” On March 8 they will be striking to end gender violence, to protect reproductive freedom, to preserve the environment and natural resources, to secure equal pay for equal work, to guarantee a $15 minimum wage and paid family and sick leave, and to create a social system that actually works for all communities.
Who’s behind the strike?
The organizers behind the International Women’s Strike and the Women’s March are working in solidarity and have a similar message—even if they may be employing different tactics. As the Women’s March organizers noted, the goal of A Day Without a Woman is “to highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the U.S. and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender-nonconforming people continue to face.” The cumulative goal of all the actions on March 8—whether you decide to strike or just take part in the day’s actions in a different way—is to bring attention to securing a living wage, guaranteeing basic protections for workers (like health care, paid family leave, and child care), ending discrimination in the workplace, and protecting civil rights and reproductive choice—and to make sure they are accessible to all women.
How can I be part of the March 8 demonstrations?
The Women’s March organizers have asked those who can participate to do so in any of the following ways:
1. Refraining from work—both paid and unpaid
2. Refraining from shopping in stores and online (exceptions can be made for local small businesses and women-owned businesses that are not part of the #GrabYourWallet boycott)
3. Wearing red—a color of love, revolution, energy, and sacrifice—in solidarity. Because A Day Without a Woman also coincides with International Women’s Day, organizers are encouraging women to participate in rallies, marches, and even volunteer work that will encourage a greater sense of community and help make the strike’s goals a reality.
IWS is hosting dozens of strikes, marches, and rallies throughout the United States (and internationally), including in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Columbus, Ohio (a full list of events is available on the IWS website). Organizers recommend women to take action by:
1. Creating a coalition of women to join in the strike and either organizing or participating in demonstrations and walkouts
2. Organizing or participating in a strike or picket line within your workplace
3. Boycotting companies or local business that use any sexist language or imagery in their advertisements
I can’t afford to take a day off. How will the strike represent me?
Countless women throughout the country can’t strike on March 8 because the consequences could be too great—whether it’s losing a day’s worth of wages or risking being fired from their job. Organizers recognize that, and they’ve encouraged those who are not able to strike to wear red in solidarity and discuss the goals of March 8 with their family, friends, and communities. For those who are able to participate, this is an opportunity to show up on behalf of those who cannot—and to be mindful that immigrant women, Muslim women, women of color, disabled women, and lesbian, queer, and trans women are at a greater risk of being fired if they participate. “Women and allies with greater privilege are called to leverage that resource for social good on March 8,” Women’s March organizers wrote. “However, everyone’s involvement signifies an equal commitment to the day, especially those who experience greater vulnerability to discrimination and exclusion.”
I’m a man. Can I be part of the women’s strike too?
Organizers are calling on men to use March 8 as a day of reflection and advocacy (and to wear red to show their support). Men can bring up the pay gap in a meeting with their supervisors and urge their employers to guarantee equal pay and paid family leave. And while they’re hopefully already doing so, men in relationships with women can also take the opportunity to reassess how they contribute to domestic work. The same holds true in the office: If a man is relying on his female coworker to clean up after a coworker’s birthday, he can join those efforts.
If you’re interested in learning more about A Day Without a Woman, you can find an FAQ here. If you’re interested in finding out what International Women’s Strike events are happening in your area, you can find more information here.