So, women, where are we?
Besides being in the most polarizing, unpredictable and stunning (you may take that either way) political time in modern American history, I mean.
Today is “A Day Without a Woman.” Did you know?
Are you on strike today? Standing in solidarity with your millions of pink-hatted Women’s March sisters by sitting at home?
Abstaining from housework and child care?
Oh, but you must support the cause, the Women’s March organizers say. This is the next level, they say. Protesting in historically huge numbers here and around the world as many of us did Jan. 21 was exhilarating and empowering, but today’s strike is the test that shows whether that unifying day is enduring or just an ephemeral rush of post-election angst.
There is some historical relevance here. A Day Without a Woman falls on International Women’s Day, which honors the work we women do, paid and unpaid, on social, political and economic levels worldwide.
It is also a day to remember that more work – a lot more work – toward achieving gender equality and women’s rights remains.
It makes sense, Women’s March organizers say, to show how crucial that work is by not working today.
According to the organizers’ website, A Day Without a Woman supports “equity, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.”
Which all sounds nice unless standing in economic solidarity compromises your own economics.
Remember the Day Without Immigrants last month? Some of those immigrants now have days without employment.
But hey! There are other ways to show sisterhood solidarity today.
• Don’t shop, except at small, women- and minority-owned businesses.
• Wear red.
I asked a few women from various walks of life for their thoughts on A Day Without a Woman. Only two of them mentioned an alternative way to show support.
One woman, a reporter, has to work because she’s on deadline today.
Another woman can’t take off today because she’s already missed too many days of work at a temp agency that doesn’t pay much to begin with.
A therapist is at her office today because most of her clients are women. She’s supporting the movement by not doing housework.
A teacher said she just couldn’t “skip out” on her students.
A woman who works at the University of New Mexico told me she and a friend aren’t working today but plan to “chill,” not protest.
Another woman, usually quite the activist, had an even chillier comment: “I don’t think this caught on at all. Too many marches.”
And this from a magazine editor who is not staying home: “I am working at a job where I feel valued and valuable.”
I’m not convinced that skipping work is the yardstick by which to measure the current strength of whatever it was that inspired women – and men – to march together that chilly January morning. I still sense a force in the disturbance. Today may be the next level, as the organizers say, but it is certainly not the last level.
As I said at the start of this column, these are polarizing, unpredictable and stunning times, and there will surely be plenty of opportunities yet for women to resist, rise up and speak up in whichever way they choose. If staying home from work isn’t your thing, don’t worry; something else will come along.
So, to those of you at work today, thank you for keeping the world spinning. To those of you willing and able to support today’s strike, thank you for believing in the power you have to change the world. However way you spend today, I hope it makes you feel valued and valuable.
See you all tomorrow.
UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Joline at 823-3603, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @jolinegkg. Go to www.abqjournal.com/letters/new to submit a letter to the editor.