A Day Without a Woman
Tomorrow, across America, many women will be on strike, to protest “The War on Women” – the anti-women’s rights agenda of the White House, and the Republican majorities in Congress and many state houses.
Unconstitutional laws impeding women’s access to abortion, whether it’s defunding Planned Parenthood, or 24-hour waiting periods, or requiring doctors to lie to their patients, or unnecessary ‘safety’ requirements which force women’s healthcare clinics to close, they must all be fought by expensive, time-consuming lawsuits.
Budget slashes to assistance programs, and threats to the ACA, Medicare and Social Security will all impact women more greatly than men, because women still earn less than their male counterparts, so they have less to spend on health insurance, and are less likely to have pensions or IRA savings large enough to live on.
A lot of women who would risk being fired if they didn’t go their jobs, and many men who support equal rights, have pledged not to spend any money tomorrow, and to wear red, as a show of solidarity with the women at the demonstrations.
There have been other women’s strikes. One of the most successful was in Iceland on October 24, 1975:
Women’s Day Off
90% of Icelandic women took part in a women’s strike on International Women’s Day, not going to their paid jobs or doing any housework or childcare (Fathers had to take their children to work), to “protest wage discrepancy and unfair employment practices.” Women’s average earnings at the time were only about 60% of what men earned. The entire country was essentially shut down.
In 1976, Iceland’s parliament passed an equal rights law, though it didn’t address pay inequity. But the strike paves the way for the election five years later of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the first democratically elected female president in the world.
In 2016, women candidates won 30 of Iceland’s parliamentary seats, 48% of the 63 seats, making it the “most equal” governing body without a quota system in the world. In 2016, the World Economic Forum ranked Iceland as #1 in addressing the gender gap in health, education, economic participation and opportunity, and political advancement, with an overall divide of 12.6% between the sexes.
They aren’t done yet. On the Day Off anniversaries, women in Iceland stop work early to “demonstrate their important positions and continue the struggle for equality.” Last October 24, Icelandic women headed for the doors at 2:38 pm, the time that a man would have earned the amount of a woman’s entire paycheck for a day’s work, because of a 30% gap still existing between men’s and women’s pay.
The 2016 ‘Black Monday’ strike in Poland was modeled on the Icelandic strike.