I read about the strike not long after my girls and I returned home from the Washington March. I was high on energy and motivated to help enact change. When I heard about the “Day Without a Woman” – I immediately said – OH YES.
A day or two later I was left wondering – but how? My husband and I have full lives. We run our own businesses and aside from that, I’m involved with a couple of organizations such as Woman AdvaNCe where striking seemed a little defeatist. Striking from my own women-owned business – where I am the one who would pay the price of my absence didn’t make sense. Stepping away from support of the very organizations working to support the policies we hold dear also seemed ridiculous.
Beyond that – what about my kids and home responsibilities? How do I strike from that? Before you call me sexist – let me assert that I’ve welcomed those daily duties and the way my husband and I share our family responsibilities works for us (most of the time). So do I look at my daughters and “I’m sorry, Mom’s on strike”? What would they learn from that?
If I’m honest, I still have much conflict about how to strike and what to do. But I am very clear on the belief this needs to happen in order for real change to occur in our country. For me, as it stands – things had their own way of working out. I have some obligations and personal needs that will take me away from home tomorrow at lunch for the night – leaving my husband in charge of school pick up, soccer and the like. I can’t be alone in my internal struggle, and I have been yearning to know how others are handling it.
But at the end of the day how we strike today is much less important than the idea behind “A Day Without Women.” We’re making a point. We contribute a significant amount to the economy, our communities and families – yet policy decisions in the public and private sector fail to consistently support our goals and contributions.
According to the United Nations, women bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care, devoting one to three hours more a day to housework than men. When we’re on the job, we get paid significantly less.
Researchers at McKinsey & Company, estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational effectiveness. When more women work, economies grow. An increase in female labour force participation—or a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation—results in faster economic growth.
So back to the strike. Honor and support it in the ways that you can – but let’s all work together to acknowledge it. Work to take at least three actions today that demonstrate your support. Here are a few ideas.
- Wear red in support.
- Look for community events to participate in. (My town has a lunch picnic planned in the park for women striking and a demonstration planned in the evening.)
- If you can, take the day off – but use it to write letters, call your lawmakers or engage in a community service activity that supports marginalized women.
- Post facts about what women contribute and what we’re striking for on social media.
- Support only women-owned businesses.
- Have conversation with at least one man in your life to get him to understand the movement and why it should be recognized.
And tell us how you’re spending the day. We want to know. Share with us on Facebook. And remember, make sure your actions and passions reach beyond just today. That is how a movement keeps moving.