YWCA USA Supports “A Day Without a Woman”

On March 8, people from across the country will participate in “A Day Wit­hout A Woman,” an action designed to highlight the enormous value that women add to our society and economy – to families, workplaces, businesses, communities, and the broader economy – while receiving lower wages and facing greater inequities, discrimination, and barriers to advancement and economic security. This strike, a follow-up to the historic Women’s March on Washington, falls on International Women’s Day, a global day honoring the social, political, and economic contributions of women globally and calling for progress towards gender parity.

Why YWCA USA is participating

YWCA USA supports the continued work and activism taking place to protect the rights of women and girls in our country, especially those who are most marginalized. We recognize and support “A Day Without A Woman” as an opportunity to speak in one voice for the rights of women, speak out for gender equality in the workforce, and highlight the critical role that women play in our economy. Together we can raise awareness about policies that perpetrate oppression and highlight the reality that our economy is reliant on the labor of women.

At the same time, we recognize that the women we are most reliant on in our economy, such as caretakers, domestic workers, home-care workers, and low-wage workers, among others, face the most risk should they take an entire day to strike. For these women, who are predominantly women of color, their economic security is made more tenuous due to a number of factors, such as lack of worker protections, low wages, and lack of workplace leave policies. For many women, missing a day of work can mean the difference between food on the table and an empty refrigerator. Many of these women likely won’t be able to participate in a full-day strike due to the nature of their jobs or economic insecurity. As this statement from the Women’s March organizers notes: 

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.

We also recognize that many women, like many of the 12,000 YWCA workers across the country, provide critical services and support for their communities. In YWCAs across the country, these workers provide housing, childcare, domestic violence and sexual assault services, job training programs, and other crucial services to more than one million individuals every year. We recognize how powerful striking is – especially when it impacts the bottom line – but for many women workers, striking may mean a hotline call isn’t answered or nurses’ station is left empty. As the strike organizers note,

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.

As such, YWCA USA will join in solidarity with our allies for equity, justice, and the human rights of women, by showing our support by wearing red on March 8; avoiding shopping and spending money, unless it is at local, women- or minority-owned businesses; and continuing to spread awareness and educating others on issues of racial justice, women’s empowerment and equality.

How you can participate

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Women, if able, take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor.
  2. Avoid shopping and spending money on this day, unless it’s at small, women- and minority-owned businesses.
  3. Wear red in solidarity with A Day Without a Woman.

Other ways you can participate could also include donating to organizations and causes that support women, calling your members of Congress, and, if you are able to take the day off work, spend your time volunteering for an organization supporting women and girls of color in your local community. This article and this piece have a few other suggestions.

A Day Without A Woman is one day, but let it be part of our continued commitment to supporting women and recognizing the power we women hold in our economy and society. Let us all commit to acting in solidarity long after the day is over, and continuing to push for policies that make it possible for women, girls, and families to be safe, secure, and successful!

 

YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The organization is one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families each year. Learn more: www.ywca.org.