Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day (IWD). Despite its origins in the American labor strike – the very first National Women’s Day was in 1909, commemorating the 1908 New York Garment Worker’s Strike – many Americans are unaware of this holiday or its significance in many countries. While its roots are tied to political activism, this day was established to support gender equality and to honor women in the many facets of their achievements. This year, the Women’s March on Washington has organized a general strike to fall on this holiday and it’s being called: A Day Without A Woman.
The IWD has decided the 2017 theme is: “Be Bold For The Change”, imploring all allies of gender parity to get involved in one or all of the calls to action.
#1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor. Across the globe women are spending more of their time assuming the majority of unpaid household responsibilities. In conjunction with unequal pay at work, the social divisions plaguing us deepen. One of the main goals is organizing to defend workplace equality. The IWD movement recognizes that not all women can afford to strike labor in this manner, since we are still fighting for the establishment of equal opportunity. However, this is exactly where the movements’ two following calls to action as well as its Principles of Unity , have the chance to demonstrate intersectional feminism.
#2. Avoid shopping for one day – with exceptions for small, women and minority owned businesses: Just how loud does your money talk? Female dollars account for around seventy percent of the purchases made. Female employees represent approximately fifty percent of the workforce. Demonstrating with an economic strike is a perfect route for visibility; it’s also an opportunity divert purchases to businesses run in the marginalized communities the strike is aiming to empower.
#3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman. This last call to action is the most inclusive of them all. You may not be able to take the day off of work or to be able to ignore your household responsibilities for the day. However, in order to avoid prolonging these ingrained societal issues and our culture of inequality, this piece of the initiative asks simply for solidarity. Self-expression through dress, conversation, and activism is an excellent way to support the cause. Share blog posts on social media, wear red and let people know why! Enlighten your family members and friends. Beginning the conversation is an easy way to support the cause. Help include members of your community and the people you encounter daily especially to include the underrepresented and disenfranchised. Your conversation may be the accessible approach that inspires others in your community to get involved in the ways that they can. And if your contribution is building the bridges to communicate change within your community you are helping inspire genuine, lasting change.
The grumblings of dissenters have already begun, questioning the potential for progress. This perhaps, arguably, is due to the paradox of the nature of the strike itself, which seems to be geared to privileged social strata. These sentiments should not intimidate nor deter participants. The inability of others to acknowledge the range of diversity in approach is not a hindrance of the movement itself: there are still three ways to support the cause.
The ripples in the socio-political climate are instigating waves of necessary change and the energy is electric. New activists and first time protesters are being born in the reverberating echoes of worldwide calls to action. We have cycled through another phase of social standards and it is now time to take the next steps up on our cultural evolution. It’s important to consider that there are marginalized demographics whose existence is not a consideration in the current reality of white-cis-heteropatriarchy. The norms we know NEED to be reinvented, in order to respect and include marginalized groups. As women, as allies, or as advocates for equality; our humanity now calls us and Hopsie Inc. is proud to be amongst the bold allies for change. We acknowledge our obligation to defending rights: Women’s Rights = Human Rights. Remember the cause, the work doesn’t end with the strike. #BeBoldForTheChange