March 9, 2017; Hollywood Reporter
March is Women’s History Month, and earlier this week, thousands of women across the country marked International Women’s Day by participating in a nationwide demonstration dubbed “A Day Without a Woman.” The political, social, and economic statement led by organizers of the Women’s March on Washington encouraged women to wear red in solidarity; refrain from spending money unless at local or women- or minority-owned businesses; and take the day off from paid and unpaid labor.
While A Day Without A Woman, modeled after last month’s A Day Without Immigrants, was intended to illustrate how a widespread absence of women would presumably result in a major slowdown of society, the campaign and its female supporters were anything but missing in places that mattered the most.
From Portland to Washington D.C., women continued marching in local rallies, not easing up the slightest in their firm stance against the current administration. A group of female U.S. representatives also followed suit, staging a temporary walkout of the Capitol, where they protested on the building’s steps in defense of equal rights for women.
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Although on strike from using their purchasing power at big-box retailers and corporate chains, women (and men) instead opened their wallets to support female entrepreneurs through crowdfunding efforts like Kiva’s campaign to generate $3 million in loans to women business-owners around the world. At last check, the initiative was sitting comfortably at nearly $6 million.
And it wasn’t just women who made such bold statements on International Women’s Day. The world’s third-largest asset manager, State Street Global Advisors, erected a bronze statue of a small girl standing tall and defiant in front of the Wall Street bull. A plaque near the statue reads, “Know the Power of Women in Leadership.” The timing of the statue’s unveiling, of course, is no coincidence; it likely parallels the latest findings Grant Thornton published this week that show in 2017, women make up only 25 percent of senior executives in the thousands of companies surveyed. Better order a few more of those statues.
International Women’s Day resulted in big support from the arts community, too. During a performance of Hamilton in New York on Wednesday, audience members received more than just the standard Playbill. Inside each program was a message letting theatergoers know that cast members were donating their salaries from the evening’s show to Dress for Success, a nonprofit that provides professional clothing for low-income women who are entering or reentering the workforce.
While International Women’s Day is an annual recognition of the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, this year’s additional incorporation of A Day Without A Woman surely made new and big waves, both good and bad. Although it’s too soon to know the impact—economic or otherwise—of the revitalized effort, one thing’s for sure: Women at the helm of the movement aren’t disappearing any time soon. Organizers might as well make International Women’s Day an entire presidential cycle long, because there will be very few days without women in the years ahead.—Lindsay Walker