— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) March 8, 2017
If I were a True Progressive(tm), I probably wouldn’t be writing this (although, in my defense, for me it’s the end of Tuesday rather than the beginning of Wednesday). Yes, I enjoy putting these posts together — since it’s unpaid labor, Cole could hardly fire me for noncompliance — but it does qualify as work, some days more than others.
Jia Tolentino, in the New Yorker, on “The Women’s Strike and the Messy Space of Change”:
T[oday] is the Women’s Strike, the fourth of ten actions that have been called for by the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington. The strike was planned to coincide with International Women’s Day, and the march organizers, in tandem with a team organizing protests in forty countries around the world, have asked women to take whatever form of action their lives allow for. Take the day off from “paid and unpaid labor,” including housework and child care, if you can, or avoid shopping at corporate or male-owned businesses, or simply wear red in solidarity. There will be rallies in at least fifty cities around the United States.
Comparisons between the strike and the post-Inauguration march—now estimated to be the largest political demonstration in U.S. history—are inevitable, and likely to be unfavorable to the strikers. The decline in unionization has insured that most American workers are unfamiliar with striking and what it entails. And it is, of course, much harder to strike on a weekday than to protest on a Saturday. It is also more difficult to facilitate, measure, and publicize absence than it is to celebrate presence, the way one does at a march. When tens of thousands of immigrants went on strike on February 16th, they did attract some favorable public attention—as well as employer retribution—but a general strike the next day, and a tech-industry strike one week later, escaped public notice almost completely…
A full women's strike for just one day would cost the country $21 billion: https://t.co/ocx9cJNVDd
— American Progress (@amprog) March 7, 2017
From the Washington Post, “The expensive problem with the ‘Day Without a Woman’”:
… Rosie Molina, who works at a District restaurant for $7.50 an hour, woke early to march on the Mall in January. Then she rushed downtown for an afternoon shift. Molina was proud to have briefly joined the movement — her cause is immigrant rights — but she cannot afford to take part in Wednesday’s strike, which would cost her about $60. That’s two weeks of groceries.
“I’m a single mother,” Molina said. “I don’t have the luxury. The last time I took a day off, my paycheck was very low.”
Taria Vines, 44, who makes about $350 each week as a caterer in the Bronx, decided to take the day off to march Wednesday in the nation’s capital with some friends. Vines figures she’ll lose a chunk of pay — probably enough to cover her cellphone bill — but she still wanted to take a stand against sexual harassment and discrimination.
“It’s costing me money to do this,” she said, “but if I don’t fight for what’s right for me, who will?”…
Then there’s the women who could lose their jobs if they miss a day on the clock. Half of American mothers ages 18 to 34, for example, aren’t eligible for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to a January analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a District think tank. (The law provides job-protected days off mostly to full-time workers at companies with more than 100 employees.)…
The organizers of A Day Without a Woman acknowledge the uneven access on their website. “Many women in our most vulnerable communities will not have the ability to join the strike, due to economic insecurity,” they wrote. “We strike for them. Many others work jobs that provide essential services, including reproductive health services, and taking off work would come at a great social cost. We recognize the value of their contribution.”
In an excellent piece at NYMag’s ladyblog The Cut, Dayna Evans points out “The Only Way to Know If Striking Works Is to Do It“:
… The strike, like January’s Women’s March on Washington, has been the subject of much discussion and some skepticism. Organized by eight grassroots feminist organizers with the intent of shifting focus from “lean-in feminism” to feminism of the working class, “the 99 percent,” questions still abound. Are the objectives clear enough? What will it achieve? Will women with privilege and financial security be the only ones able to participate? And if they are, what kind of message does that send? Not to mention the fear that not showing up to work could rankle women’s already precarious roles in the workplace. Why strike and why strike now?
Political resistance, as history has taught us, does not guarantee political change — but the first step to finding out is showing up. In Iceland and Poland, where two of the world’s most successful large-scale women’s strikes in recent history took place, there wasn’t time to deliberate about hows and ifs: There was only forward action. Uncertain beginnings, broad, lofty goals, and resistance were not enough to get in their way. Women of both countries didn’t know whether there would be a significant turnout, or if positive political change would be the result of their participation. All they knew was they had a choice to either strike or not. On Wednesday, American women will confront a similar challenge. And if the only way to find out if it striking works is to show up, the question is, will we?…
— Alexandra Halaby (@iskandrah) March 8, 2017