International Women’s Day Turns Into ‘A Day Without a Woman’ as Many Go On Strike, Hold Rallies, and Take Political Action

Organizers of “A Day Without a Woman” called for women to take the day off Wednesday and encouraged them not to spend money to demonstrate their economic strength and show their political clout in a followup to January’s Women’s March that brought out millions of supporters worldwide.

Women in more than 50 countries were holding similar events to coincide with the U.N.-designated International Women’s Day, according to the event page for the demonstration.

Rallies were planned across the country, including: New York; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; Portland, Ore. Some colleges, such as Rutgers University in New Jersey, will also stage walkouts and marches.

Organizers said they want to “stand with women around the globe” who supported their efforts Jan. 21 with similar protests in cities around the world on the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

“When millions of us stood together in January, we saw clearly that our army of love greatly outnumbers that of fear, greed and hatred,” organizers said on their website. “Let’s raise our voices together again, to say that women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability.”

Spokeswoman Cassady Findlay said organizers were also inspired by the recent “Day Without an Immigrant” protests held last month. “We provide all this value and keep the system going, and receive unequal benefits from it,” she said.

Findlay also said it is important for white women to be in solidarity with minority women.

“Throughout history, the strikes that have the biggest impact are the ones when people who are already the target of oppression participate,” she said. “It’s when women of all backgrounds strike and stand together that we’re really going to see the impact.”

In Maryland, schools in Prince George’s County closed for the day after some 1,700 teachers and 30% of its transportation staff requested leave for the day. “We cannot transport students and provide safe, productive learning environments without adequate staff,” the school district said in a statement to explain its decision.

Public schools were also closed in Alexandria, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., along with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools in North Carolina.

In Washington, Barbara and John Balducci, who were visiting the nation’s capital, arrived early, both sporting red, the symbol for the day,  at Freedom Plaza — the gathering point for a women’s rally.

Barbara, who had marched in a January women’s march in Providence, R.I., said the couple felt compelled to participate. From abortion to health care to women’s rights — “all of it” is a concern with the Trump administration, she said.

“We wouldn’t be so angry if Trump was doing something more positive, ” she said. “We see the country more divided than ever.”

The couple, who now live outside of Atlanta, used to work in D.C. and say they were always Independents. But no more, John Balducci said. “What is being done on the GOP side is indefensible.

Leslie Finlow, 58, said A Day Without a Woman “means everything.” The Washingtonian listed a litany of concerns as she hurried to work past the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue: North Korea, an Obamacare repeal, “pretty much everything.”

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SOURCE: Doug Stanglin
USA TODAY