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History Shows us Why “A Day Without a Woman” is Important

On March 8, 2017 the women of the United States are being asked to do what they can through a unique and interesting method; by doing no work, paid or unpaid, avoiding shopping, and wearing red in solidarity. The motive of this movement is to bring awareness to the problems faced by gender-oppressed people, including equality, human rights, and justice. This may seem like a novel idea, but this is not the first protest done to show the impact people have, showing that without them, things will not get done, jobs will not be finished, and confusion will ensue. Strikes like this have been happening for a while. A Day Without Immigrants happened only last month, on February 16, and although we do not know what could change due to the strike today, there are other such strikes to look at for inspiration and hope.

One of the oldest, if not the oldest, Day Without Women strikes happened in 1975 in Iceland. It was named “Women’s Day Off’ and, there are estimates that at least 90% of women in Iceland decided to participate. They refused to go to work, refused to care for children, and thousands rallied in the streets, demanding equal rights. It apparently caused so much chaos that men ended up having to take their children into work with them. The next day, everything went back to normal, but with the knowledge that women were pillars of society and could, at any moment, bring the country to its knees. They gained so much respect after this and achieved their goals. Five years later, and yes that does seem like an extremely long time, but regardless, the first woman president was elected in Iceland, Vigdis Finnbogadottir. Finnbogadottir was first in many ways; the first female president of Iceland, the first in Europe, and the first woman in the world to be democratically elected. She became extremely popular, and served four terms, two of which she ran for unopposed.

We can’t know what this strike will do here in 2017, but if everyone does what they can, Iceland’s strike could be blown out of the water. We have the potential to achieve even more, and now is the time that our country needs it the most. We live in such a divided world, but this strike has the potential to bring everyone together and agree on one very important thing: women are incredibly important to our society.  A day without them could disrupt our entire sense of day to day life.


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