Women Go On Strike in US to Show Their Economic Clout

By ERRIN HAINES WHACK, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Some American women stayed home from work, joined rallies or wore red to demonstrate their economic clout Wednesday as part of a multitude of International Women’s Day events held around the globe.

The Day Without a Woman protest in the U.S. was put together by organizers of the vast women’s marches that drew more than 1 million Americans into the streets the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The turnout this time appeared in many places to be far smaller. And there were no immediate estimates of how many women heeded the call to skip work.

A crowd of about 1,000 people, the vast majority of them women, gathered on Fifth Avenue in the shadow of Trump Tower to demonstrate. Women dressed in red and waved signs reading “Nevertheless she persisted,” ”Misogyny out of the White House now” and “Resist like a girl.”

“Trump is terrifying. His entire administration, they have no respect for women or our rights,” said 49-year-old Adina Ferber, who took a vacation day from her job at an art gallery to attend the demonstration. “They need to deal with us as an economic force.”

Rallies were also planned in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Washington and Berkeley, California. Some businesses and institutions said they would either close or give female employees the day off.

School in such places as Prince George’s County, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, canceled classes after hundreds of teachers and other employees let it be known they would be out. In Providence, Rhode Island, the municipal court closed for lack of staff members.

The U.S. event — inspired in part by the Day Without an Immigrant protest held last month — was part of the U.N.-designated International Women’s Day.

In Rome, hundreds of women set off on a march from the Colosseum to demand equal rights. Germany’s Lufthansa airline had six all-female crews flying from several cities in the country to Berlin.

Sweden’s women’s soccer team replaced the names on the backs of their jerseys with tweets from Swedish women. Finland announced a new $160,000 International Gender Equality Prize. Women also held rallies in Tokyo and Madrid.

In New York, a statue of a fearless-looking girl was placed in front of Wall Street’s famous charging bull sculpture. The girl appeared to be staring down the animal. A plaque at her feet read: “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.”

As part of the Day Without a Woman protest, women were also urged to refrain from shopping.

Some criticized the strike, warning that many women cannot afford to miss work or find child care. Organizers asked those unable to skip work to wear red in solidarity.

Monique LaFonta Leone, a 33-year-old health care consultant in Colorado Springs, Colorado, had to work but put on a red shirt and donated to charity, including Planned Parenthood.

“I have bills to pay, but I wanted to make my voice heard, no matter how quiet,” she said. “I also wanted to make a statement to say that women are doing it for themselves. We’re out here in the workforce and making a difference every day.”

Trump took to Twitter and asked others to join him in “honoring the critical role of women” in the U.S. and around the world. He tweeted that he has “tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy.”

Lovely Monkey Tattoo, a female-owned tattoo parlor in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, offered female-centric tattoos with messages like “Nevertheless, She Persisted” — a reference to the recent silencing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor — for $50 to $100, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.

Women make up more than 47 percent of the U.S. workforce and are dominant among registered nurses, dental assistants, cashiers, accountants and pharmacists, according to the census.

They make up at least a third of physicians and surgeons, and the same with lawyers and judges. Women also represent 55 percent of all college students.

At the same time, American women earn 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. The median income for women was $40,742 in 2015, compared with $51,212 for men, according to census data.

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A Day Without A Woman: https://www.womensmarch.com/womensday/

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Associated Press writers Phuong Le in Seattle, Mike Householder in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Michelle Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, William Mathis in New York City contributed to this report.

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Errin Haines Whack covers urban affairs for The Associated Press. Follow her work on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/emarvelous.

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