You may recall “A Day Without Immigrants,” which was a protest in response to President Trump’s immigration policies. It was a day where immigrants, or people who have immigrant family members, protested by boycotting work and businesses to show their strength in numbers and how their absence affects the US economy.
Following “A Day Without Immigrants” is “A Day Without a Woman.” Likewise, women will protest by skipping work, not purchasing any goods or services, and objecting to unpaid labor such as cooking and cleaning for their family. The boycott will happen this Wednesday, March 8th, 2017.
“A Day Without a Woman” is led by the same people who organized the Women’s March. Both movements were sparked from President Trump’s indiscretions with women and general bluntness that many consider derogatory comments towards women. The Women’s March mission statement is, “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.“
With the success of the Women’s March protest, in January, that brought millions of marchers into the streets, “A Day Without a Woman” has pressure to maintain the momentum of the January march or people may minimize the Women’s March as a post-election rant. The Women’s March was a significant success in sheer numbers whereas “A Day Without Women” seems to fall short in support; however, the key difference is that the Women’s March took place over a weekend while “A Day Without Women” is on a Wednesday (03/08/2016). The Women’s March was one of the largest national protests, and organizers of “A Day Without a Woman” expect a lower turnout.
The organizers of the protest acknowledge that “A Day Without a Woman” requires more commitment and sacrifice than the Women’s March because many women cannot risk taking a day off. Fassady Fendlay is a spokesperson for Women’s March who stated, “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.”
Protest organizers want large numbers to participate, but they do not recommend women to leave work if there is a risk of them losing their job. The strike asks women to do three things: don’t work at home or the office, don’t shop, and wear red.
Even though other risky protests had success in drawing large numbers, “A Day Without a Woman” lacks the momentum of the protests and is expected to have a lower turnout. A low turnout puts protesters at greater risk of losing their job because they would look like the only woman deviating in their office; smart organizers know that there is more strength and security in numbers.
Women account for about two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the US, and women of color make up more than half. Many women in these positions do not have the benefits or flexibility to skip work and protest.
“A Day Without a Woman” has a noble purpose but may its efforts may falter in light of lower publicity and greater risk than “A Day Without Immigrants” and the Women’s March. But just because the fire may not burn as brightly as it did in January does not mean the movement has extinguished.