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At the end of January, several members of Team Normal as well as many of you took place in the various Women’s Marches around the world. Well we pesky lady folk are at it again, because the same organizers behind the wildly successful marches have organized A Day Without a Woman, which will be recognized tomorrow, International Women’s Day. If you want to prepare, there are a few different ways you can participate in the day, as per the organization’s guidelines:
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
I was 100% for the Women’s March because I thought it was a great way to make a big statement. A Day Without A Woman however, I have a few issues with. Not in theory, but in practicality. Let’s look at it piece by piece.
It’s not that I don’t see what they’re going for with this, and it would undoubtedly make a massive impact. It’s just that it’s unrealistic to the point of ridiculousness, almost insultingly so. I don’t know a lot of women who can just go without an entire day’s pay, however much they might want to. Even the women I know who have high power and high paying jobs can’t just not show up for the day, it’s simply not the nature of their work. I’ve seen a few stories about school districts closing for the day because so many teachers want to participate. One school district in Brooklyn sent out a letter to parents explaining that backup care will be provided for any children who need it. I couldn’t find the specifics of who is going to provide that backup care, but unless it’s a staff of all men, nothing will really have been accomplished. Some women will opt out of work and other women will step in to do it instead. Only those in very fortunate positions will be able to participate in this aspect of the day.
Opting out of unpaid labor is even more ludicrous. Single mothers and women caring for a sick spouse or parent are left out right off the bat. I can think of many other scenarios, and I’m sure you can as well, where it’s not at all feasible for women to “take the day off.” It’s true that women do a tremendous amount of emotional labor, and that that’s undervalued. It’s a worthwhile endeavor to remedy that, but I don’t think this is the way to do it.
If you plan accordingly, this one may be somewhat more doable. Giving a boost to small, as well as women and minority owned businesses is always a good thing. Enormous companies can certainly survive without our patronage for the day. We get charged more for a lot of the things we need to buy anyway. And hey, we still don’t get paid as much as men so that’s doubly fun!
There was a day in the not so distant past when I loaded up on free tampons that were laid out in a basket in the bathroom of a nice hotel. Does that count as avoiding shopping? Technically I acquired a product, but they were given away. I’m counting it. So there’s a potential idea for you. It’ll be interesting to see what the numbers end up looking like, but this seems like the kind of thing a decent amount of people will do, but perhaps not enough to make a huge dent in companies’ bottom lines.
This one I like. Yes, it’s the easiest, but it’s also by far the most achievable. I don’t have a ton of red clothes, but I have some red nail polish, and some red lip crayon. (Luckily, not all that long ago Team Normal shared our favorite red lipsticks with you.) So I’ll go more that route, plus dig through my closet and see if I can find anything. The Democratic women of Congress wore white to honor suffragettes at a certain someone’s joint session address,
and the sea of pink hats in the photos from the Women’s March are also striking.
Wouldn’t it be fabulous if all throughout America, and the world, everywhere you went you saw a ton of women going full Iris Apfel?
But truly you can do anything on International Women’s Day that you feel is helpful, there aren’t any hard and fast rules. There are so many wonderful organizations that could use help. You could volunteer at your local domestic violence center or donate feminine hygiene products to a homeless shelter (something that is desperately needed at many of them). With spring coming, many schools are going to start having their proms, and you can donate old dresses so girls that can’t afford to buy one can still wear something beautiful. I know prom dresses get a bad wrap, but mine was damn nice if I do say so myself, and it’s been hanging in a closet untouched for years. I would love it if a girl who needed it got to wear it. The slogan for A Day Without a Woman is “Be Bold For Change,” and that can take many forms. Even if you pick up the phone and call a female friend that you haven’t talked with in a bit to see how she’s doing, that means something. We all need and help each other. Whatever you do tomorrow, just remember that you’re doing something worthwhile:
Are you going to participate in A Day Without A Woman? How? What are some really good women’s charities to give to?