How to #OwnYourResistance If You Can’t Take Work Off Today
It’s been about a month and a half since millions of people showed up to march in solidarity of women’s rights in the wake of Donald Trump being sworn in as president. In the weeks since, the sustained momentum has been heartening, with women and their allies flexing their power and supporting other marginalized groups as legislation is introduced that seeks to further disenfranchise. But of course, the work is never done, and today, on International Women’s Day, the organizers of the Women’s March have proposed a strike called A Day Without a Woman.
The idea is “[to recognize] the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system—while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.” Participants are asked to do any of the following:
- Take the day off of work, paid or unpaid.
- Refrain from spending any money unless it is with female- or minority-owned business that are supportive of women’s rights.
- Wear red.
To be sure, women wield a ton of economic power. We comprise 47% of the workforce in the United States, and yet we make 79 cents to every dollar men earn (and Black and Latina women make even less). Women work two-thirds of the minimum wage jobs in the U.S., and three quarters of public school teachers are women, to name just a few fields that would be crippled without us. In theory, hitting the economy with an absence of these proportions would indeed send a powerful message.
The idea is to force society to acknowledge the value of women in the workplace and society at large by letting them see how they fare without us—a collective, “Boy, bye!” that would pinch their pocketbooks and their quotidien existence. But the fantasy of a world where men cry for a day missing us and return ready to build a bridge over the gender pay gap comes at the expense of leaving many women vulnerable. It’s just not that simple. Women with bosses unsympathetic to this effort run the risk of punishment or even losing their jobs. For many, taking a day off from earning wages is not a financial possibility. And what about women whose jobs serve communities of women in the healthcare field or protective services? And what about caregivers or mothers who don’t have the option of finding a substitute?
The strike is a big demand designed around an abstract objective, which is in part what makes it a little difficult to wrap one’s head around; labor strikes generally have a concrete objective, like higher pay or improved working conditions, and it’s unclear what, in precise terms, we’re hoping to accomplish and when we’re demanding it be done. Equality immediately, if not sooner. But how?
In the spirit of transparency, here at Girlboss, we’ve had a lively debate over the last few days about what the strike means and whether we would participate or not. After considering our objective of amplifying women’s voices and accomplishments, and the fact that we are a women-owned, all-female team, we decided to channel our resistance into our work today with the following objective: Beyond wearing red and refraining from spending money, how do we make the strike more inclusive of women who don’t have the luxury of taking today off? If you’re sitting at your desk today or are otherwise engaged in labor you were unable to step away from, here are some ways you can #ownyourresistance and further the cause—together and individually.
- Amplification. If any of your female co-workers are likewise working today, collaborate to ensure your voices are being heard. This is a tactic adopted from women working in the White House during President Obama’s administration, when two-thirds of his top aides were men; the female aides would repeat questions from their colleagues that got overlooked or were dismissed, and ensure that credit was attributed to the women that came up with the ideas.
- Call a woman you love who has stood up for women’s rights and say thank you. It’s been a long and harrowing journey to get us to this point, and there’s work to do yet. A little appreciation on a day like today is extra icing.
- Assess how you can be a better ally to your fellow women and other marginalized groups. Catch yourself bein’ a lil’ judgy? Check yourself. Find yourself pandering to a dude? Hold up (and forgive yourself). Feeling like you’re in over your head when it comes to the rights of groups threatened by recent legislation? Learn more. Make lists.
- Create a plan of action to be carried out in the days moving forward. Here’s a guide to calling your government representatives. Here are places you can donate to if you have the means. Here’s a guide on how to spend money with companies that align with your values.