Were it not for the posts and tweets about Wednesday being “A Day Without A Woman,” International Women’s Day here would have been easy to miss.
Aimed at building on the Women’s March that, in January, swept the nation, the idea was to drive home the point that women are a force in the electorate and the market. Women were asked to take a day off from work, to demonstrate, or, at the very least, to wear something red and not open their wallets. But few workers of any gender can afford to play hooky mid-workweek, and who wants their children to suffer just to underscore how much caregiving they do, gratis?
It wasn’t A Day Without A Woman at the cafe where I got my latte. It wasn’t A Day Without A Woman at my husband’s or daughters’ workplaces. It wasn’t A Day Without A Woman for Felipa, the janitor who cleans The Bee’s editorial board office, or the executives at my morning meeting, 75 percent of whom were female. It wasn’t A Day Without A Woman for me.
There’s something awful about half the population having to rise up against the other half just to show that it matters.
Conservatives sneered in comment sections about how “real” women didn’t need days without women, and how the other name for “A Day Without A Woman” was “fishing.” (Liberals countered with that photo of President Donald Trump’s mostly male Cabinet, noting that, say what you will, this guy was prepped for a day without a woman.)
But I think the idea also met with resistance because there’s something awful about half of the population having to rise up against the other half just to show that it matters. As it might in a troubled marriage, such a situation has about it a whiff of terrible failure.
What does it mean, for example, that the majority party in Congress could propose a health care “reform” that guts both a woman’s right to decide when and whether to have children, and her maternity care benefits when she inevitably gets pregnant? How, with women making up half the labor market, can we still be arguing over paid family leave and child care?
“Today we reflect on our progress & the fights ahead against a President who bragged about grabbing women by their private parts #neverforget,” U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, tweeted.
Over the next 364 days, which will be days with women, we should really do some soul searching on that.