On March 8, thousands (millions?) of women will forego working in support of “A Day Without Women,” a protest organized by those behind the Women’s March on Washington.
The organizers are well-meaning, but what’s that they say about “good intentions?”
According to the organizers’ website, women can participate in one or all of the following ways:
- Taking off from work (paid or unpaid)
- Only shopping at small, women- and minority-owned businesses
- Wearing red
With the exception of option three (unless red just really isn’t in your color wheel), if you are someone, like me, who is a full-time caregiver for your small children, “taking off” simply isn’t possible.
Even if you are lucky enough to have relatives close by or can hire a babysitter to help out, they would most likely be female, thus defeating the whole purpose of the day.
I, also acknowledge, and salute, the men, who have the ability to eschew their own responsibilities for the day in support of their partners. However, this is probably unfeasible for most families.
For those of us who will be going about our usual day of feeding, clothing and just plain keeping our kids alive, what does a day without women mean for us? How are we part of a conversation which so often seems focused on women in the workforce?
Feminism has always had a shaky relationship with mothers. One author even went as far as to say those of us who don’t work can’t be feminists. We are the ones pushing the hour hand back on the clock of progress. We are trapped in a bubble of domestication.
I know most mothers, regardless of whether they stay home or not, just want to do what’s best for their families and raise decent human beings. Real feminism offers space for all women and doesn’t cast aside those who choose to leave the workforce. Real feminism means creating a world where having children doesn’t force women into sticking with a job when they would rather be home or being home when they would rather be working.
I hope a “Day Without Women” will provoke a change in how advocate for all females, regardless of how they fit into the typical feminist narrative.
On March 8, I will remind myself:
- Stay-at-home parents are valuable.
- I am raising my children to be good citizens and contributors to a global economy.
- I am privileged to have a spouse whose salary enables me to care for our children l.
- I am fortunate to live in a time when the Internet has created ample opportunity for moms to earn a flexible income.
- My career didn’t end when I became a mother; I can always go back.
- I am never too old for a new challenge.
If you are participating in a protest or rally tomorrow, please remember your sisters who cannot be there with you. We are all in this together.