Will the Women's Strike Have Any Effect on Workplace Rights?
Published: Mar 07, 2017
With thousands of women across the country taking the day off from work on International Women's Day to stand together and join A Day Without A Woman, we wanted to share our opinions on this historic strike. So we asked a few of Vault's staff members if they thought the strike would have any effect on workplace rights, and what they thought about the strike in general. Here's what they said:
"I do think that the Women’s Strike will send a strong message by underscoring how much businesses depend on women—both as employees and consumers—in order to function. In an ideal world, this message would elicit more respect for women in the workplace and further the conversation about women’s rights, eventually leading to equal pay.
"Yet I worry that the Women’s Strike may have the opposite effect, with women who participate in it damaging their reputations as dependable professionals by not showing up to work mid-week, even if they have major responsibilities to carry out that day. I think the strike will probably have a polarizing effect, by making those who already respect women respect them more, but causing those who do not value women to discredit them even more.
"I obviously stand with the Women’s Movement and am an advocate for equal rights, but I am skeptical about the ability of this strike to effect change in policy or make any long-lasting impact on women’s rights in our society."
"I am hopeful it does have an effect, even though I am concerned it won’t. It is very important to continue to let the Trump administration know women will not stand for this hate speech and contribute in this economy just as much as men. However, the striking that took place back in January seems to have not changed Trump’s opinion. I wonder what another strike will accomplish. It's time that the government and everyone realizes the contributions that women do to society. My mom was a widow who worked nonstop when I was growing up. Teaching in public schools by day and tutoring by night all to support her two kids. I sometimes wonder what life growing up would have been like if her principal didn’t see how she contributed just as hard as her male peers, if not harder in my opinion. Women cannot give up the rights they have fought for. I hope they continue to march on these next four years under the Trump administration."
"I believe the Women's Strike will be very effective in terms of acknowledging how women still feel inequality, not just in the workplace, but in many aspects of life. The strike is a product of a bigger conversation, something that has been ongoing for decades and will continue for decades to come. It supports the women's movement but does not add anything groundbreaking to the conversation.
"In terms of whether or not it will bring about change in the workplace, I am unsure that it will. Since not all women can/will participate, the depiction of a 'day without women' will not be accurate. Certain businesses might feel a change far more than others, and several jobs (such as schools) would fully shut down were women not to come to work tomorrow.
"Overall, the message is powerful but will not bring about any sudden change."
"Although I agree with those that say the strike is somewhat problematic since it'll likely only be attended by more privileged women, I think it'll still send a powerful message that women's rights (especially as they relate to the workplace) are largely ignored in this country and that we're far behind other countries when it comes to gender disparity. Despite being the wealthiest nation on the planet, the U.S. only ranked 28th in the latest World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report (which "quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities"). Here are a few more inconvenient, unsettling, shameful facts:
Women account for nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the U.S., and women of color account for more than half of those earning minimum wage or less. According to a recent Oxfam America study, ingrained sexism in the working world has pushed millions of women into jobs that pay low wages, provide little, if any, benefits, and often impose irregular hours. The number of these sorts of jobs, according to Oxfam, is only going to increase over the next decade.
"And so, I believe that the strike is important in that it'll further the conversation about how far we still need to go when it comes to providing women with equal rights in the workplace (and even if it only furthers the conversation a little bit, I believe every little bit matters). I also believe that the absence of women from workplaces for an entire day (as well as the marches that'll be staged across the country) will highlight just how essential women are to the success of companies, schools, families, and communities nationwide. It'll underline the difficulties and extra hurdles women face every day of their lives. And, much like the Women's March on Washington, it'll send a strong message to men, too many of which still dismiss women's rights as unimportant and don't understand (or even try to understand) why so-called locker-room banter is a problem, how it only diminishes, demeans, and severely sets back the equal-rights plight of a majority of U.S. citizens."