“No paid or unpaid labor.“
I rolled the sentence around in my brain for a good week before determining that if I was going to participate in the women’s strike, so was James.
Here’s the riddle: If I’m going to strike, and if the woman who takes care of my children while I work is going to strike, and if I’m supposed to refrain from paid or unpaid labor, then who the hell is going to take care of my kids?
Ah, yes: My husband.
Tomorrow, on International Women’s Day, we’re giving a paid day off to our babysitter and James is taking the day off of work so that I can participate in the March 8 A Day Without a Woman strike. James is spending the day caring for our children, and he’s spending the evening drafting a letter to the women’s college where he works demanding that the administration provide paid parental leave for all faculty and staff parents welcoming a new baby into their lives. As is, James had to scrape together enough vacation days so he could be home for the first fourteen days of Silas’s life. He’s one of the lucky ones.
There are lots of folks who can’t strike. Lots of folks who don’t get vacation days or time off when a new baby enters the scene, paid or otherwise. Folks who don’t have a husband or partner to help with childcare in the case of a strike. There are folks whose jobs are precarious even on the very best day. I strike for them and all people who might not have the political, economic, or social ability to strike tomorrow. I strike to underline the economic power and clout held by women in this country and to bring attention to the economic injustices that women and gender nonconforming folks continue to face. I strike because we believe that a strong economy is one that’s equitable and secure for everyone.
If you can’t strike, three things you can do:
- Wear red as a symbol of solidarity. Get the men in your life to wear red, too.
- Keep your money in your pocket. When women stop spending money, the economy grinds to a halt. If you have to spend money, spend it with women, gender-nonconforming folks, and minorities.
- Open up conversations about childcare and unpaid work in your own household.
More about the strike right this way.
Get counted: Register your participation at the Women’s March website.