‘A Day Without a Woman’: Strikes, rallies, political action

“A Day Without a Woman” unfolded across the USA on Wednesday with strikes and rallies as organizers called on women to skip work and not spend money to demonstrate their economic strength and political clout.

Women in more than 50 countries were holding similar events to coincide with the U.N.-designated International Women’s Day, according to the event‘s Facebook page.

Rallies were planned across the country, including: New York; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; Portland, Ore. Some colleges, such as Rutgers University in New Jersey, will also stage walkouts and marches.

The event is a followup to January’s Women’s March that brought out millions of supporters to streets and squares around the globe. Organizers for Wednesday’s gatherings said they want to “stand with women around the globe” who supported their efforts Jan. 21 with similar protests in cities around the world on the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

“When millions of us stood together in January, we saw clearly that our army of love greatly outnumbers that of fear, greed and hatred,” organizers said on their website. “Let’s raise our voices together again, to say that women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability.”

Spokeswoman Cassady Findlay said organizers were also inspired by the recent “Day Without an Immigrant” protests held last month. “We provide all this value and keep the system going, and receive unequal benefits from it,” she said.

Findlay also said it is important for white women to be in solidarity with minority women.

“Throughout history, the strikes that have the biggest impact are the ones when people who are already the target of oppression participate,” she said. “It’s when women of all backgrounds strike and stand together that we’re really going to see the impact.”

In Maryland, schools in Prince George’s County closed for the day after some 1,700 teachers and 30% of its transportation staff requested leave for the day. “We cannot transport students and provide safe, productive learning environments without adequate staff,” the school district said in a statement to explain its decision.

Public schools closed in Alexandria, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., along with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools in North Carolina.

In Washington, Barbara and John Balducci, who were visiting the nation’s capital, arrived early, both sporting red, the symbol for the day, at Freedom Plaza — the gathering point for a women’s rally.

Barbara, who marched in a January women’s march in Providence, R.I., said the couple felt compelled to participate. From abortion to health care to women’s rights — “all of it” is a concern with the Trump administration, she said.

“We wouldn’t be so angry if Trump was doing something more positive, ” she said. “We see the country more divided than ever.”

The couple, who now live outside Atlanta, used to work in D.C. and say they were always Independent voters. But no more, John Balducci said. “What is being done on the GOP side is indefensible.”

Leslie Finlow, 58, said A Day Without a Woman “means everything.” The Washingtonian listed a litany of concerns as she hurried to work past the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue: North Korea, an Obamacare repeal, “pretty much everything.”

In Knoxville, Tenn., the Women’s March Coalition of East Tennessee planned a downtown rally at the women’s suffrage statue on Market Square.

Participants were encouraged to wear red and share names and stories of inspirational women on the coalition’s “Wall of SHEroes,” according to a post on the coalition’s website.

In Utah, as many as 1,000 women were expected to gather at the Capitol to remind lawmakers they are watching their actions on women’s issues.

In Providence, R.I., the municipal court planned to close because the demonstration in the city would leave the court without enough staff to open. Lovely Monkey Tattoo, a woman-owned tattoo parlor in Whitmore Lake, Mich., is offering female-centric tattoos with messages like, “Nevertheless, She Persisted” for $50 to $100, with proceeds going to the Ann Arbor chapter of Planned Parenthood.

While not mentioning the demonstrations, Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday and asked followers to join him in “honoring the critical role of women” in the U.S. and around the world. He tweeted that he has “tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy.”

Ivanka Trump echoed her father’s sentiments, tweeting: “Today, we celebrate women and are reminded of our collective voice and the powerful impact we have on our societies and economies.”

Among the women’s day events worldwide:

• In Moscow, four activists who sneaked into the Kremlin grounds to demonstrate were arrested along with two reporters and a photographer for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The demonstrators carried slogans, including “Men out of the Kremlin” and “All Power — women,” according to the newspaper.

Officially, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a five-year national action plan supporting women’s interests. Valentina Matvienko, who as speaker of the upper house of parliament is one of Russia’s most prominent female politicians, calls the strategy a “gift to all the women of Russia.”

• In Madrid, about 200 people gathered in central Puerta del Sol to mark International Women’s Day and support a group of women who, a day earlier, ended a hunger strike to demand politicians’ action against domestic violence.

Rights organizations called for women to dress in black outfits and stop working, studying, consuming or taking care of others in order to show what would happen if women disappeared, a worldwide initiative launched under the slogan “Not One Woman Less.”

• In Manila, Philippines, hundreds of activists from left-wing women’s groups protested at the U.S. Embassy, where they burned a mock U.S. flag with President Trump’s image, before joining a bigger rally outside the presidential palace.

In both rallies, demonstrators demanded an end to the presence of visiting U.S. troops and a crackdown against illegal drugs by President Rodrigo Duterte that has left thousands of drug suspects dead. The protesters hit a huge paper mask made in the likeness of Duterte as they ranted against an array of issues, including a lack of jobs, poverty, and violence against women.

• In Sweden, the women’s football team marked the day by replacing the names on the back of their jersey’s with tweets from Swedish women “who have struggled to gain ground in their respective field.”

• In Germany, six all-female crews from Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines planned to make their morning flights from the Lufthansa Group hubs to Berlin, Lufthansa said in a statement. The aircraft departing from Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf, Vienna, Zurich and Brussels were each scheduled to be flown by two female pilots.

Source: usatoday.com



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