The Opinion Pages
Why Women Are on Strike
MARCH 8, 2017
New York Times
On Wednesday, protesters around the world will celebrate International Womens Day by showing their economies what a day without womens work, paid or unpaid, is like.
Inspired by two strikes last October one successfully quashing a Polish parliament bill banning abortion, the other drawing tens of thousands to protest violence against women and girls in Argentina organizers in more than 50 countries have coordinated a day of global action, including strikes, rallies and other gatherings.
The United States strike will focus on broadening the definition of violence against women, says Sarah Leonard, spokesperson for the strike. In addition to protesting domestic, sexual and physical violence against women, Tithi Bhattacharya, a member of the strikes organizing committee, says the strike on Wednesday focuses on rejecting the systemic violence of an economic system that is rapidly leaving women behind.
This is the day to emphasize the unity between work done in the so-called formal economy and the domestic sphere, the public sphere and the private sphere, and how most working women have to straddle both, says Ms. Bhattacharya. Labor is understood to be work only at the point of production, but as women we know that both society and policy makers invisibilize the work that women do. The strike calls for women to withhold labor, paid or unpaid, from the United States economy to show how important their contributions are.
The platform of the strike seeks to elevate the demands of the majority of women, not simply the demands of the loudest or most privileged women.
The language of feminism in recent years has been used to talk about Lean In feminism, says Ms. Bhattacharya. We do not want a world where women become C.E.O.s, we want a world where there are no C.E.O.s, and wealth is redistributed equally. This, she explains, is why they decided to convey their new international feminist movement around the socialist philosophy of Feminism for the 99 Percent.
The slogan evokes the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement intentionally. We thought that Occupy had a wonderful resonance in being able to articulate that the problem with our lives was not just the one issue or the two issues, Ms. Bhattacharya explains. The problem with our lives was the system of exploitation and oppression that affects the vast majority of people while a minority, the one percent, profited from it.
GLORIA STEINEM ON FEMINISM, DONALD TRUMP, AND WHY WOMEN WON’T BE SILENCED
Ahead of International Women’s Day, Amelia Abraham spoke to feminist and author Gloria Steinem on behalf of ELLE, tackling women’s rights, the impact of President Donald Trump and the need for women to trust each other.
BY AMELIA ABRAHAM
MARCH 8, 2017
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In January this year, five million women of all ages, races and nationalities came together to protest for gender equality. They marched on the same day in a staggering 673 locations across the globe.
In Washington, D.C., where the idea originated, a crowd of one million women took to the streets, and looking out over them, smiling, was the legendary feminist campaigner Gloria Steinem. Pointing out how the size of the march outnumbered attendance at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, she fearlessly went for the jugular: his pride.
When we talk on the phone a week later, Gloria is feeling just as bold and optimistic despite the seismic set backs for women’s rights that came under Trump’s first week of presidency. At 82-years-old ‘I know, I’m shocked’, she laughs it’s clear the journalist, author and icon of the women’s liberation movement’s strong will hasn’t been weakened, after tirelessly fighting for gender equality for more than 50 years.
Her 1969 essay for New York Magazine, After Black Power, Women’s Liberation, famously heralded the second wave of feminism, and her magazine Ms. has served as something of a feminist bible.
Today, she still dedicates her time to making sure women everywhere keep their eyes on the prize, passionately co-running a series of organisations such as the Women’s Media Centre, which advocates for more women in the media, and Donor Direct Action, which links frontline women activists to funding. As if that weren’t enough, she’s also just launched a TV series investigating gender equality around the globe. Named WOMAN, it’s an eight-part documentary debuting on VICELAND this month.
In conversation, Gloria is a little gruff to begin with. But that might be because I’ve just interrupted her work; she’s writing an article about the March for Life rally, an anti-abortion protest that’s been running in the U.S. for over 40 years.
‘I am working on something to put online to say this is not a march for foetal life it’s a march for women’s death,’ she tells me.
‘If you outlaw abortion or make it financially unavailable, it doesn’t reduce the number of women who need abortions which, in this country, is about one in three it just increases the number of women who are injured and die from forced pregnancies and births.’
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