Here is an irony: Donald Trump has managed to rally women together more that Hillary Clinton ever could have! A direct testimony to that was the Women’s March on Washington organized on January 21, 2017, a day after Trump’s swearing in as the US President. The March was the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history with a worldwide participation estimated at 5 million people. In Washington alone, there were more than 500,000 people marching against Donald Trump’s election and administration. To keep the momentum of activism going the women’s march group asked everyone to join them in performing “10 Actions in First 100 Days” of Trump’s Presidency.
The latest action in this series is that of a General Strike dubbed as “A Day Without A Woman” – the date for which coincides with “the International Women’s Day” on March 8th.
Every year International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. This year with “A Day Without A Woman” campaign and the IWD’s #BeBoldForChange theme, it is all set to be a day to show our protest against inequality in all walks of life.
“A Day Without A Women” strike is meant to communicate to the current US administration that women are an equal and important part of the country’s economy & functioning. Though the date has been fixed, a lot remains to be decided: like how the strike will be held, and what actions are to be expected from the common woman. Protesting by not going work, or school, abstaining from buying anything online or offline are some of the actions being propagated as part of the strike.
Similarly, another strike was recently held: “A day without Immigrants” to show the impact and contribution of immigrants on the US economy. However, one backlash of this strike was that dozens of immigrants, especially daily wage laborers lost their jobs. This is also one of the main concerns of the common woman against the Woman’s General Strike. There are many women who are economically disadvantaged or are single mothers without childcare, who do not have the privilege of taking a day off work and definitely cannot risk losing their jobs. The organizers of the strike hence have a big task in their hands for the strike to be successful to be inclusive of all women and not only the ones who are economically better off.
The Women’s March saw participation from people all over the world. The question that concerns us is: Are we going to stand up as Indian Women, in solidarity with the ones around the world? If so, what measures can we take? One such commendable initiative already underway and initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development is the #WeAreEqual campaign. The campaign urges women and men to share thoughts and slogans to promote gender equality. The campaign has already started showing some traction with many men and women equally posting on twitter with the #WeAreEqual.
India’s rocket woman, Minal Rohit
The IWD’s #BeBoldForChange Campaign urges us to “Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world – a more inclusive, gender equal world”. Reboot and its community is constantly striving towards exactly this end goal: A Better Working World – which is gender diverse and gender equal. Here is an opportunity for us to work as a community to brainstorm what actions we can undertake to help us reach this goal. Some areas that need our attention include ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’, ‘Gender Diversity Issues at the Workplace’, ‘Gender-Based violence’ and ‘Education of the girl child’.
Let us use the social media platforms, our blogs, our art to promote the causes we believe in and stand up for ourselves as well as every other woman this Women’s Day. It’s going to be a long fight. But then, nothing ever comes easy, not even equal rights.
by Namratha Varadharajan
Namratha is a digital marketer in the making. Other than her love for the written word and her kids, she enjoys Italian food, dancing and gardening. Explore more of her writings at www.namysaysso.com