International Women's Day: Protests and Strike around the World
Women are fed up of being paid less in their jobs, to be in charge of the children and the dishes, to be afraid of domestic violence or sexual harassment. They are tired of being told what can they do with their bodies, to be left behind by the media when they play sports, to be treated like sexual objects. Enough is enough.
For that, and for many other reasons, hundreds of women across the world descended on the streets and went on strike in their countries to join the International Women’s Day protest.
In the U.S, the first mass International Women’s Strike - named "A Day Without a Woman" - closed schools, shops and moved thousands of women out in the streets to highlight the gender pay gap and show solidarity with the global women’s movement.
Crowds rallied on the steps of Congress in Washington DC, while others gathered in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Washington and Berkeley and Democratic women in the House staged a symbolic walkout in solidarity.
The strike – billed “A Day Without a Woman” – marked the first major action since the global women’s marches on 21 January, which attracted up to 2 million people onto the streets to protest against violence against women, inequality, oppression and misogyny.
Wednesday’s strike is reminiscent of the recent “A Day Without Immigrants,” walkouts organized in protest of Trump-administration policies meant to show what the country would be like without the work of immigrants. According to a study by the Center of American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, it would cost the U.S. gross domestic product $21 billion if all American women who work outside of the home for pay took a day off.
"This kind of strike is really something new", L.A. Kauffman, a historian of radical protest in America, said in The Atlantic. According to the expert, a general strike like this one represents a new model of protest. And that may be an example of how Trump’s presidency -stirring civic engagement from his opponents as well as his supporters- could be revitalizing American democracy.
President Trump weighed in early with a brief statement, writing a message of respect on Twitter for women and the role they play in the economy: "On International Women's Day, join me in honoring the critical role of women here in America & around the world.", Trump tweeted.
Across South America mass strikes and demonstrations drew attention to high rates of femicide. In Argentina protests kicked off with a “ruidazo” – a traditional banging of pots and pans – followed by a march in Buenos Aires to protest against the 78% rise in femicide in the past eight years.