The declaration “A Day without a Woman” aims to draw attention to a profound contradiction: Women make a significant contribution to our socioeconomic system while they are being discriminated against through salary inequality, job insecurity and sexual harassment at work.
They are almost half of the U.S. labor force and also the ones deciding to buy 80 % of all products sold. That purchasing power is valued when it comes to marketing, but the presence of women is not equally considered when it has to do with leading the companies selling those products.
The income difference between men and women performing the same job is just one example of the unfairness of the system. It is estimated that a woman is paid 79 cents for every dollar her male counterpart makes.
In the case of minority women, the situation is worse, and the racial factor is added on top of gender inequality. A Latina makes 55 cents and an African-American is paid 66 cents for every dollar a white man makes.
It is no coincidence that, in the United States and the rest of the world, the face of poverty is a woman. That is the result of lack of opportunity, discriminatory laws, and an absence of policy protecting the family. Investing on the progress of women is known to be essential to ending poverty.
While the organizers of the protest taking place today, on International Women’s Day, are focusing on the economic aspect, the fair demands go beyond that.
This year, with the advent of President Trump, the climate has worsened for women. The leader’s openly sexist and chauvinistic stances falsely normalized attitudes that are unacceptable when dealing respectfully with other people.
With Trump, the projects attempting to limit women’s reproductive rights and impede poor women’s access to health services came back to life. Thus, budget cuts for programs against domestic violence and in defense of women are also being considered.
Today, it is expected that women who are able to will refrain from working or shopping, unless it is at a woman- or minority-owned business. That will not make a backwards patriarchal society change overnight, but it is part of the road to achieve a system that values its members more fairly.