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A Day Without a Woman: What you need to know

The Women's March on Washington galvanized women across the globe and gave voice to a rising political force on a history-making day. More than 2 million people took to the streets in Washington, D.C., and cities small and large on Jan. 21 to protest a new administration they fear will roll back civil, human and reproductive rights.

Will that voice thunder again?

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On Wednesday, International Women's Day, the organizers behind the January march are planning a showing of economic solidarity in walkouts, rallies and marches dubbed A Day Without a Woman.

Here's what you need to know:

What is International Women's Day?

International Women's Day, March 8, is a day meant to tout the social, economic, cultural and political successes of women while urging more gender equality. The first women's day was in 1909 (but in February) when 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York demanding improved pay, shorter hours and voting rights.

What is the International Women's Strike?

The strike is planned and organized by women in more than 50 countries to promote issues facing women who are marginalized. Among them: gender violence, reproductive freedom, labor rights, environmental protections

What is A Day Without a Woman?

The organizers behind January's March on Washington are using Wednesday as a day of action to spotlight the economic power and value of women and their contributions to society in paid and unpaid labor. Organizers hope to call attention to economic injustices women face such as lower wages, gender discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurities. The day is also intended to push for gender justice, recognizing that trans and gender non-conforming people face equally compelling issues of discrimination and marginalization.


Are the Women's Strike and A Day Without a Woman the same thing?

Organizers of the January Women's march and A Day Without a Woman are working in solidarity with activists behind the International Women's Strike.

How can you participate?

Women are encouraged to not work, whether your job is paid or unpaid.

Women are being asked to avoid shopping in stores and online — except for local small businesses and women-owned companies that support A Day Without a Woman.

Women are urged to wear the color red.

Why wear red?

Organizers say they selected the color red to represent "revolutionary love and sacrifice." Red also has a history with the labor movement.

Can men participate?

Yes. Men are being asked to help with caregiving and other domestic chores on Wednesday. They are also being encouraged to rally for equal pay and other workplace issues for women.

What if you can't take the day off?

"Many women in our most vulnerable communities will not have the ability to join the strike, due to economic insecurity. We strike for them," organizers note on their website. If women can't strike, they are encouraged to wear something red in a show of solidarity.

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Can businesses have a role?

Companies can participate by closing for the day or letting female workers have the day off. Business are also being asked to examine policies regarding pay equity and paid leave.

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What about private households?

Heads of households are being encouraged to give a paid day off to caregivers, nannies and housekeepers.

Are there any rallies you can attend?

There are many rallies planned across the country, including: New York; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; ; Portland, Ore. Some colleges, such as Rutgers University in New Jersey, are also staging walkouts and marches.