Women go on strike in US to show their economic clout
Published 8:24 am Thursday, March 9, 2017
PHILADELPHIA — Many American women stayed home from work, joined rallies or wore red Wednesday to demonstrate how vital they are to the U.S. economy, as International Women’s Day was observed with a multitude of events around the world.
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 the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The turnout on the streets this time was much smaller in many places, with crowds often numbering in the hundreds. There were no immediate estimates of how many women heeded the call to skip work.
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“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 a demonstration in New York City. “They need to deal with us as an economic force.”
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In a message, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said leadership positions are predominantly held by men, and “outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism” are widening the economic gender gap. Closing that gap would add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025, he said.
Gueterres also lamented that “around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.”
In Warsaw, thousands of women showed Poland’s conservative government red cards and made noise with kitchenware to demand full birth control rights, respect and higher pay.
In Rome, hundreds of women marched from the Colosseum to demand equal rights. Thousands marched in Istanbul, despite restrictions on demonstrations imposed since last year’s failed coup. Turkish police did not interfere.
Women also held rallies in Tokyo and Madrid.
Germany’s Lufthansa airline arranged for six all-female crews to fly into Berlin. Sweden’s women’s soccer team replaced the names on the backs of the players’ jerseys with tweets from Swedish women. Finland announced a new $160,000 International Gender Equality Prize.
A crowd of about 1,000 people, the vast majority of them women, gathered on New York’s Fifth Avenue in the shadow of Trump Tower. Women wore red and waved signs reading “Nevertheless she persisted,” ‘‘Misogyny out of the White House now” and “Resist like a girl.” Thirteen people were arrested for blocking traffic, police said.
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.
In Washington, more than 20 Democratic female representatives walked out of the Capitol to address a cheering crowd of several hundred people.
Dressed in red, the lawmakers criticized efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi encouraged more women to go into politics, saying, “You have marched for progress. Now you must run for office.”