Women’s March: Smashing the patriarchy one movement at a time

How would you fare in a world without women?

On January 21, over five million people around the world participated in events to support the Women’s March on Washington, which had over 1,000,000 participants itself.

In order to support their ongoing cause and to raise awareness for equality and, as expressed on their website, “work[ing] peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all,” the Women’s March organizers, allied with feminists of color and grassroots groups are creating A Day Without a Woman.

The organization proposes that “on International Women’s Day, March 8th, women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.” This event also works alongside the International Women’s Strike movement, whose members span across 30 different countries from South America to Europe to Asia.

The Women’s Strike movement is relatively new, starting with the organization of Polish women protesting the criminalization of abortions and miscarriages on October 3, 2016, but it’s roots stem from an 1975 strike of Icelandic women who were “demonstrat[ing] the indispensable work of women for Iceland’s economy and society,” as described by the Global Nonviolent Action Database. 90 per cent of the countries women did not go to their jobs, did no housework and did not care for their children.

There is an undeniable injustice to women across the world and organizations like Women’s March and Women’s Strike, and events like A Day Without A Woman are exactly what our societies need, not only on a local and national scale, but on a global scale as well.

Women, for thousands of years, have added to our socio-economic system in ways that people often forget to acknowledge. And even when they are given credit, they are taken for granted and told it is something they are supposed to be doing and that it’s not as if whatever they’re doing is a big deal.

Taking into consideration that the human race would effectively die out without women in the equation, our only purpose in life isn’t just to make babies and clean up the messes that men make.

When given opportunities, women take them and run, despite the fact that they are exposed to higher rates of inequality, lower wages (women in Canada earn an average of 66.7 cents for every dollar earned by men, acording to canadianwomen.org), and are most commonly targets for discrimination and sexual harassment.

The concept of being a human being isn’t hard to grasp. But it does get much harder when you’re faced with hundreds of obstacles and a lifetime of insecurity in every situation thrown in your way. That’s the kind of life that is presented to women, and in particular women who are marginalized for their differences, be it skin colour, ethnicity, sexuality, or aversion to anything “normalized” by society.

A Day Without A Women is also taking cues from A Day Without Immigrants, the February 16, 2017 strike and boycott that demonstrated the importance of immigration, in response to US President Donald Trump’s plans on constructing “the wall” and ban immigrants from entering the country.

In order to support the overall cause, Women’s March proposes that there are three ways to join the movement, no matter who or where you are:

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor.
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  3. Wear red in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman.

In addition to the March itself and A Day Without A Woman, the Women’s March organization has an ongoing campaign to fight injustice. In the first 100 days of the year, they propose 10 actions be done — one every 10 days. These actions will focus on issues relevant to everyone and calls for everyone’s participation.

Remember that this is just one movement of many, but each one counts and has a major impact on how our society is shaped and its continual growth. So much of what is currently ingrained in our typical behaviour and ideals is oppressive and we don’t even realize it, but these events are here to open up and change the discourse.

Women are brave, and women are strong; history has always shown that. What history has also shown is that no matter how hard we try, things are hard to change. Hopefully with all the work these passionate women who organize these events, people’s minds will begin to change.

For more information about Woman’s March, A Day Without A Woman, and the 100 day campaign, visit womansmarch.com

 

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