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Don’t push women’s issues aside

Lindsey Hecox

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Whether are be aware of the fact or not, today is International Women’s Day. Organized in honor of the day is a “Day Without a Woman” strike. From the same origin of the history-making Women’s March on Washington following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, this event is less formal and women can participate in it without even leaving their homes.

The goal of the strike is to bring awareness to issues of women’s rights by abstaining from spending money with big businesses and taking a day off of work or other typical responsibilities if possible. The Women’s March made a post to their Instagram page last month explaining the direction of the protest, stating: “In the spirit of women and their allies coming together for love and liberation, we offer A Day Without A Woman. We ask: do businesses support our communities, or do they drain our communities? 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?”

The deeper meaning behind abstaining from buying from big corporations is related to the still all too prevalent struggle for women in our country to be granted the equal pay they deserve, as well as paid family leave. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Paulina Davis, one of the organizers of the Women’s March and a vice chair of the National Women’s Liberation’s New York chapter, stated: “If 20,000 women pledge, it’s a show of force. If 20,000 women say, ‘I’m not going to work today,’ people are going to feel that.” The superintendent of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools announced his decision to close schools on this day because there would be so many staff members absent in participation of the strike. Some other schools across the country have followed suit as well.

Although women are encouraged to take the day off work if they can, it is not meant to be pushed on those who are not able to miss work on this day. The organization’s website also notes other ways to participate with the strike. Wearing red to show your support for the day and what it stands for or shopping at women- or minority-owned small businesses are both ways one could express their solidarity.

The website for the Women’s March on Washington also notes the “Day Without Immigrants” protest in February as an inspiration for this demonstration. Immigrant workers often face the blunt discrimination from Donald Trump and his supporters, so in this strike, the same idea would show how businesses, schools and day-to-day life itself would not be as functional or practical without the role immigrants have in our society. Many are quick to pass judgment on people who are different from them, but neglect to see the individualism and rich cultural value they bring to our communities.

The same is true for women in a way. Many of us feel underappreciated where it truly matters. Whether in the home, the workplace or elsewhere, you have likely felt this sort of disappointment. Equal pay, paid family leave and other women’s rights issues that the Women’s March stands for are often pushed aside in everyday life. They are not often acknowledged as the real dividing problems that they are and will continue to be unless addressed properly. We take this day to recognize these issues and the need for a change to occur, because without women, it is hard to say what this nation would be.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Don’t push women’s issues aside