A Day Without A Woman

Q: What is the goal of A Day Without a Woman?
A: The goal is to highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face.  We play an indispensable role in the daily functions of life in all of society, through paid & unpaid, seen & unseen labor.  

We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes. We must free ourselves and our society from the constant awarding of power, agency and resources disproportionately to masculinity, to the exclusion of others.

We must end the hiring discrimination that women, particularly mothers, women of color, women with disabilities, Indigenous women, lesbian, queer and trans women still face each day in our nation.  We believe that creating workforce opportunities that reduce discrimination against women and mothers allow economies to thrive. Nations and industries that support and invest in caregiving and basic workplace protections—including benefits like paid family leave, access to affordable childcare, sick days, healthcare, fair pay, vacation time, and healthy work environments—have shown growth and increased capacity.

We believe in Gender Justice and the protection of the human rights of gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans, Two-Spirit and gender nonconforming people.  

We believe in an economy powered by transparency, accountability, security and equity.

We believe that all workers must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage, and that unions and other labor associations are critical to a healthy and thriving economy for all. Undocumented and migrant, farm workers and domestic workers must be included in our labor protections, and we stand in full solidarity with the sex workers’ rights movement. We recognize that exploitation for sex and labor in all forms is a violation of human rights.  

Q: Why is #DayWithoutAWoman happening on March 8th?
A: March 8th is International Women's Day. We were compelled to stand with women around the globe, just as they stood with us on January 21st. 

Q: There are lots of campaigns about International Women’s Day. Can we participate in other actions?
A: Yes. Taking the day means the option to spend time attending rallies and marches, supporting local groups, and building community with each other. If you participate in activities to show solidarity, we suggest bringing snacks and drinks from home, if possible, to avoid spending money on March 8th.

Q: What are people going to do to observe A Day Without a Woman?
A: People can participate in any one or all of the following ways:

  • Women to refrain from paid and unpaid work

  • We ask all people to refrain from shopping in stores or online. Exceptions include local small businesses and women-owned businesses that support us. (#GrabYourWallet has a list of corporations we do not support throughout the year.)

  • Wear red in solidarity with the strike.

  • We ask that our male allies lean into care giving on March 8th, and use the day to call out decision-makers at the workplace and in the government to extend equal pay and adequate paid family leave for women.

Q: Why wear red?
A: We have chosen red as a color of signifying revolutionary love and sacrifice. Red is the color of energy and action associated with our will to survive. It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination. It also has a history of being associated with the labor movement. (Source)

Q: Is this day about women withdrawing from unpaid/emotional labor and caregiving?
A: Care work is work, whether paid or unpaid, and the burden of care falls disproportionately on the shoulders of women, particularly women of color. Whether it’s child care, elder care, self-care, emotional care, caregiving plays a central role in keeping America’s economy going. Women make up the bulk of minimum wage earners and caregivers are often at the bottom of this and are most often women of color.  We must repair and replace the systemic disparities that permeate caregiving at every level of society.  We stand for the rights, dignity, and fair treatment of all unpaid and paid caregivers.

Q: What about women who cannot afford to take the day off work or those who fear they will be fired?
A: We encourage everyone who cannot strike from work to show your support by wearing red in solidarity on March 8th.

We recognize that some of the 82% of women who become moms, particularly single mothers, may not have the option of refusing to engage in paid work or unpaid child care on March 8th. Many mothers have always worked and in our modern labor force, almost half of all households are women-lead, yet motherhood remains the number one predictor of poverty and a woman’s earning potential is diminished further with each child.  We strike for them.

Many women in our most vulnerable communities will not have the ability to join the strike, due to economic insecurity. 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.

Q: Is this an issue of privilege?
A: Throughout history, economic resistance has been most effective when undertaken by directly impacted people themselves. The 1965 California grape boycott was lead by Mexican and Filipino farm workers, the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott by African Americans in a brutal Jim Crow South, and, more recently, the Yemeni Muslim-led NYC Bodega strike, the widespread Day Without Immigrants, and the 2016 Poland women’s “Black Monday” in response to a proposed abortion ban.

It is evident that the intersecting identities of women mean we experience widely different degrees of privilege or lack thereof.  Everyone has a role to play. Women and allies with greater privilege are called to leverage that resource for social good on March 8th. However, everyone’s involvement signifies an equal commitment to the day, especially those who experience greater vulnerability to discrimination and exclusion.  Even wearing red may be a great act of defiance for some uniformed workers.

It is possible that some women may be fired, as there were about a dozen instances of firings over the Day Without Immigrants strike. Nothing comes without a sacrifice, yet we also recognize that women of color, women with disabilities, LGBTQIA and gender nonconforming individuals, Muslims and other vulnerable groups are at a much greater risk of employer retaliation. We must be diligent and look out for each other, using our privilege on behalf of others when it is called for.

Social activism is not a privilege. It is a necessity born out of a moral imperative and an imminent threat.

Q: How can businesses (and households) participate?
A: Businesses can participate by closing for the day or giving women workers the day off.  Even more important than the symbolism of standing with women on March 8th, companies should do an audit of policies impacting women and their families.  By ensuring that women have pay equity, a livable wage and paid leave, they are ensuring that their long-term actions match the actions on the day of the strike.

Households can give a paid day off to caregivers, nannies, housekeepers, and elder care. March 8th is a day for men to increase their caregiving activities.  

Q: How can men participate?
A: Consider the ways that the women in your life care for and support you (your family, your office, etc.) daily, and imagine how you can provide that support to women in your life.

Lean into care work and housework; If you are partnered with a woman, review with her what domestic work she does. Maybe this means staying home to watch your children, or taking them to work with you.

Bring up equal pay at work, paid family leave, find out how much your women co-workers. Consider scheduling a meeting with the decision-makers at the workplace to advocate for female counterparts.

Reflect on your expectations of the women you work with in the office. For instance, do you expect them to clean up after meetings, order the food, etc.? Consider the space you take up in conversation. Start by taking action in these areas today.

Wear red in solidarity.

Q: What about trans women and men and gender nonconforming (GNC) folks?
A: This strike is for women, femmes and all gender-oppressed people. We recognize that in addition to being economically, socially, and politically oppressed, trans and GNC people face heightened levels of discrimination in the workplace, particularly as there are no federal anti-discrimination laws on the basis of gender identity.  

Q: How can teachers engage with their students who are in class on March 8?
A: A group of teachers in the Stanford Education Program created these creative and thoughtful ideas for engaging children to teach them about A Day Without A Woman.