Millions of women are striking for International Women's Day to make their absence felt. But many more are unable to take the day off work, whether they don't have the luxury to for economic reasons or feel stigmatized for speaking up for their beliefs. One of my Facebook friends pointed out that perhaps people who could be taking the day off aren't because "women are socialized not to disappoint."
But what would happen to the economy if every single woman participated in A Day Without A Woman? What would the impact be if half of the U.S. workforce said, "Boy, bye?"
Unsurprisingly, the country would effectively grind to a halt. Harper's Bazaar reports that according to new analysis from the Center for American Progress, a day without women would cost the U.S. economy $21 billion in gross domestic product (GDP). Women's work contributes $7.6 trillion to the U.S. GDP every year.
This figure doesn't even take into account all of the unpaid labor women perform daily — or industries in which women make less money, which is most of them. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women spend 150% more time on housework than men and more than twice the amount of time on caregiving. Women who aren't caregivers or domestic workers may not make money doing this work, but it does quietly keep the wheels of the economy turning.
The Center's analysis concludes: "The women's strike offers an opportunity to reflect on how important women's labor is to the country and remind Americans of what remains to be done to accurately value the work that women do to sustain the nation's families and economy."
So if you're still skeptical about whether a strike can have a real impact, imagine what a day without any women would look like for the economy — and then read up on the history of women's strikes here.