Don't Call Me Selfish For Striking In Today's "Day Without A Woman"

women's strike

I'm not just doing this for myself ...

Today, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, I am going on strike. 

Like many other women in this country and elsewhere, I am participating in a global action called "A Day Without A Woman."

I am not going to work. I am not going household chores. And I am not shopping unless it is at small, women-owned businesses. 

Why am I doing this? Because social justice, including women's rights, is something we need in the age of Donald Trump more than ever.

The most surprising thing to me about participating in this action is the amount of pushback I have received from people I view as friends, colleagues and fellow activists. 

"Well, unlike some people, I can't afford to strike," say some.

"There's no role for men in this," say others.

"This is an issue of privilege, only the wealthy can participate," say others. 

I appreciate that people are passionate, but in an era where we are learning that in order to get the facts you have to do real research, I'm frankly shocked that more people aren't reading up on the action before they decide to rip it to pieces. 

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The negative reaction people are having to this strike I think is largely fueled by the notion that women have nothing to complain about, and that the women participating in this event don't know how good they've got it.

Guess what: I don't make as much money as men doing the same job as I do. I'm fortunate to have a job, but I'm also catcalled when I walk down the street. My boyfriend doesn't like it when I walk alone at night because he's scared something could happen to me. The sad part is, he's right. 

I'm not participating in this action because I'm a spoiled woman, nor am I participating because I'm a clueless white asshole. 

I'm participating because I can, and because I can, it's my responsibility to do so for all of the women who can't. 

You don't have to be a woman who can strike to participate in this action.

You can wear the color supporting the action, red.

You can avoid shopping at big stores and support women-owned businesses instead.

You can talk about the action. 

This is for everyone. Women's rights? They are human rights. Without us, there wouldn't be anything, that's what this day is about.

I was born in the 1980s, I didn't grow up protesting and fighting for my rights because until now they have never felt so fully on the line. 

I respect your decision whether you decide to strike or not, and I would ask that you do the same of me.

I am not demanding that anyone participate, but to dismiss the efforts of women trying to ensure a safe world for you, your sisters, your mothers, your daughters as "pointless" is contributing to a culture where actions like this one are going to keep being necessary.

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I keep hoping that every action I take to fight for basic human rights for women will be the last one, but until that's true, I'm going to keep doing the work, and that means talking to people about the choices I've made, hearing their concerns, and encouraging them to their homework even if life in the field isn't for them. 

If you want to know more about the facts of the strike, known as "A Day Without A Woman," you can find out a lot more about it here. 

But, if you don't want to click, here's the message in a nutshell as gleaned from The Women's March website:

"The goal is to highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face.  We play an indispensable role in the daily functions of life in all of society, through paid & unpaid, seen & unseen labor.  

"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.

Social activism is not a privilege. It is a necessity born out of a moral imperative and an imminent threat."