The organisers of the Women’s March in the US have announced a date for a nationwide women’s strike.
The general strike, dubbed ‘A Day Without a Woman’, will take place on March 8 – International Women’s Day.
“We saw what happened when millions of us stood together in January, and we now know that our army of love greatly outnumbers the army of fear, greed and hatred,” wrote the Women’s March on Washington organisers on Instagram.
Specific details of the strike have yet to be released, but the team behind it has promised to share more information on how women can take part over the coming weeks.
It is believed that the action will be held in conjunction with 30 other feminist organisations around the world. However, it is not clear yet whether feminist activists in the UK will follow the lead of those in the US and organise their own general strike.
In an open letter published in the Guardian last week, eight prominent feminist scholars and activists called for a day of “striking, marching, blocking roads, bridges and squares, abstaining from domestic, care and sex work, boycotting, calling out misogynistic politicians and companies, [and] striking in educational instititutions”.
Critiquing what they termed “lean-in” feminism, the women – Linda Martín Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, Barbara Ransby, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, and Angela Davis – explained that a strike was intended to fight for the rights of all women.
“While Trump’s blatant misogyny was the immediate trigger for the huge response on 21 January, the attack on women (and all working people) long predates his administration,” they wrote.
“Women’s conditions of life, especially those of women of colour and of working, unemployed and migrant women, have steadily deteriorated over the last 30 years, thanks to financialization and corporate globalisation.”
Referencing the bestselling career advice book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, they argued that so-called “lean-in feminism and other variants of corporate feminism” had not served to advance the lives of “the overwhelming majority” of women.
A general strike, they said, should aim to support women “who do not have access to individual self-promotion and advancement and whose conditions of life can be improved only through policies that defend social reproduction, secure reproductive justice and guarantee labour rights.”
The new wave of feminist activism triggered by the rise of Donald Trump “must be a feminism for the 99%”, they concluded.
The organisers of the Women’s March on Washington say that the strike is intended to highlight which companies are helping in the fight for equality and which are holding women and oppressed communities back.
“We ask: do businesses support our communities, or do they drain our communities?” the group wrote on Instagram.
“Do they strive for gender equity or do they support the policies and leaders that perpetuate oppression? Do they align with a sustainable environment or do they profit off destruction and steal the futures of our children?”
While this women’s strike is likely to be the most prominent in recent history, the idea did not originate with the organisers of the Women’s March. Last October, thousands of women across Latin America went on strike to protest male violence against women, after 16-year-old Argentinian student Lucía Péréz was brutally raped and murdered. The organisers of that strike – known as #MiércolesNegro, or Black Wednesday – called on women to stop working, studying and other activities for one hour.
“In your office, school, hospital, law court, newsroom, shop, factory, or wherever you are working, stop for an hour to demand ‘no more machista violence’,” they said.
Images: Rex Features