How does one make an impact on “A Day Without a Woman”? In trying to puzzle this out, I consider many of the roles I have played and currently play.
Who does it hurt?
If you’re a mother of young children, you can’t very well “strike” and leave toddlers unfed, babies undiapered. Sure, some women might have the luxury of dumping the kids on some male, but when my kids were small that was simply not an option. It was more of “the buck stops here,” squarely on my shoulders.
If you’re a homeschooling mom, or an after-school-activities mom, you can’t abandon your kids’ education, nor refuse to drive them to classes and activities. Rather than a political statement, it simply hurts your children.
If you’re a housewife and you go on strike on Wednesday, I guarantee that on Thursday morning the floor will still need to be washed, the laundry will still need to be done. Ah, the futility! What difference has it really made?
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business person, either it’s a pre-arranged holiday, or you hurt yourself or your livelihood. Some people posit that the strike is only something that the privileged few who can afford a day off work can participate in (see this LA Times OpEd).
If you’re an artist, a writer, a creative, sure, take a holiday — but what “statement” is there, and to whom, by breaking your discipline? Who will notice whether you “worked” on your art on that day or not? (Most likely: you)
If you do volunteer work and the organization is counting on a team that day, pulling out “on strike” hurts the cause. It hurts the needy population you would otherwise serve.
Who does it benefit?
If you’re a scientist, your work is already under fire. Probably the same if you’re working within a resilience-building industry. Striking may actually play into the hands of the oppressors. It may be exactly contrary to our long-term desired outcomes.
If you’re an activist — social justice, environmental, political — your work is so important to making a difference! We need you, male or female or non-binary. Take a holiday, if it will refresh you. But perhaps you serve the cause better by staying wholeheartedly on task.
In other words, if you are working within the gift economy, or the sharing economy, or the creative economy, or other elements of the emerging new economy, a strike really is pointless — or possibly even counterproductive.
The greatest punch
Truly, “A Day Without a Woman” strike has its greatest impact when the participants are women who work traditional jobs within the big corporate economy.
Yes, they should strike. Not just on March 8, 2017, but often and furiously.
Do what you should be doing
The little social media meme says what NOT to do on March 8, 2017. But many articles round it out with what TO do — and they are quite enlightening.
- Don’t work … however you might spend the day volunteering at an organization that supports women or minorities.
- Don’t shop … unless you’re shopping at a small business or a business owned by women or minorities.
- Spread positivity via social media.
- Make a donation to a progressive cause.
Translations of the above: Go on strike from the patriarchy, the System. Avoid spending money at chain stories and big business. Encourage society toward hope. Financially support the organizations which are moving us toward positive progress.
In other words, take a day off from doing what is wrong for our world and do what is right.
Step into the future
A huge part of March 8 needs to be embracing our part as adults within a productive and progressive society.
If you’re a pawn within the patriarchal power play, YES, do strike! And while you’re out on that day of strike, take some time to consider how you could begin to make the shift … away from participation in and building of the destructive System … toward a more-restorative way of life.
But if you’ve already crossed over to the other moving sidewalk, perhaps the best and most powerful thing you can do on March 8, 2017 is work even harder to bring down what’s wrong in the world and build up what is right.
What will I do on March 8? I will wear red. And I will continue to work to bring alive a socially-just and environmentally-just future.