It's clear now that January 21 was just the beginning. The Women's March organizers are rallying women worldwide for a March 8 strike — a day of "love and liberation" meant to underscore the systemic gender inequalities that still exist, from the wage gap to sexual harassment. To participate in the strike, they are calling on women to take the day off work (paid or unpaid), not spend money, and wear red in solidarity.
But while taking a day off is theoretically everyone's right, in reality it's not always easy. For many women, it could mean missing a day of wages, which is not something everyone can afford to do. Women from every part of the economic spectrum may fear the stigma that comes with participating in a strike in our bottom-line-oriented society — whether it's in the form of a boss who says they absolutely need you there or a coworker who criticizes your political views.
With all of this in mind, the Women's March organizers wrote a letter to employers on strikers' behalf in order to explain the meaning behind A Day Without A Woman. If you are thinking of participating, sending it to your boss may help them understand why you would choose to stay home.
"I hope you will stand in support of me, and any of my women colleagues who choose to participate, in observance of this day," the letter says. "Places of employment can participate by closing for the day or giving women workers the day off, whether paid or unpaid. Even more important than the symbolism of standing with women on March 8, the Women’s March is asking all employers to perform an audit of their policies impacting women and families. By ensuring that women have pay equity, a livable wage, and paid leave, businesses can demonstrate that their long-term actions align with the values we are standing up for on this day."
In a statement, Cassady Fendlay, a national spokesperson with the Women’s March, said: "We want this to be a day where women feel empowered to take a stance on their value in the workplace and the world beyond. While the most impactful way would be to take the day off, we realize that many women in our most vulnerable communities or whose jobs provide essential services, including reproductive health services, will not have the ability to join the strike. We strike for each of them and we look forward to seeing the creative ways both men and women will showcase their support."
You can read the full text of the letter, as well as download it as a document and print it out, on the organization's website.