International Women’s Day, which had been celebrated since in 1908, will have a slightly different twist this year. On Wednesday, in addition to events surrounding the observance, two other organizations -- the International Women’s Strike and the “Day Without A Woman”-- will rally women to step away from their jobs and take to the streets in a sign of solidarity.
Women in countries around the world are set to participate in protests, strikes and walkouts over pay inequality, civil rights, violence and sexual harassment.
Organizers said they hope thousands of women will be drawn to the rallies and strikes, underscoring women’s roles in various aspects of society. One place the initiative will be felt is in public school systems in several areas around the country.
All the public schools in Alexandria, Virginia, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, The New School in New York City and a preschool in Brooklyn, New York, have all announced that classes are canceled on Wednesday. School officials at those systems say staff shortages will make it impossible to hold classes.
Here’s what scheduled for Wednesday:
International Women’s Day has been celebrated for more than 100 years. It is designed to shine a light on issues particular to women. Its purpose, according to organizers, is to serve as a call to action for women around the globe.
The theme for this year’s IWD is #BeBoldForChange. According to the organization’s website, the day is set aside to celebrate “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” They are asking women to “Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.”
The “A Day Without a Woman” initiative was planned by the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington held the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Similar marches were held around the United States and in foreign countries.
The protest is modeled after a protest held by immigrants last month called a “Day Without Immigrants.” Immigrants did not go to work that day in hopes of showing the impact they make on all aspects of the economy.
On Wednesday, according to the organizers of “A Day Without a Woman,” they hope that a similar protest, where women do not go to work, will call attention to “the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system -- while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”
A separate group began planning the IWS in October. The strike, according to its leaders was, “organized by and for women who have been marginalized and silenced by decades of neoliberalism directed towards working women, women of color, Native women, disabled women, immigrant women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women.”
The strike is planned and organized by women in more than 60 countries.
How to participate in any or all of protests
Women are being encouraged to take off from work Wednesday (whether your job is paid or unpaid); to avoid shopping (except for women-owned companies or small local businesses); and to wear red (the color of “revolutionary love and sacrifice, according to organizers).
What if you can't take day off?
If you can’t take off, organizers say, they will strike for you. "Many women in our most vulnerable communities will not have the ability to join the strike, due to economic insecurity. We strike for them.”
If women can't strike or attend a rally, organizers ask them to wear red in support of strikers.
What about men?
Men can help by rallying for equal pay for women, organizers said, and by doing the domestic chores and helping to care for children -- what women who are striking would be doing Wednesday.
Where are rallies being held?
There are rallies in support of the strike and of the “Day Without a Woman” planned for many cities across the United States and in other countries. Click here for a list