The Truth Behind a Day Without Women
Here are a few key things to consider when watching the video above.
1: The opportunity to miss work is most definitely a privilege that lots of people don't have however, The ' A Day Without Women' march was acutely aware of this and published tips on how women who couldn't afford to miss their jobs could participate (one of the suggestions was simply wear red). These alternative suggestions are listed on the landing page of their website, clear as day. The implication that the march was encouraging young girls to skip work is simply absurd. These women aren't slackers taking the day off for fun, they are protesting for something they truly believe in, which frankly, is a brilliant lesson for young children. Protesters are often painted as selfish and causing a nuisance/inconvenience to the public; you can bet that during mass civil rights marches people complained about the inconvenience of shutting down roads or using police resources. But their purpose is to make an issue visible and garner attention and sadly, their value is often only acknowledged much later in hindsight once the minor 'inconveniences' of their actions aren't felt.
2: It's incredibly frustrating when the argument of 'it's illegal to not hire someone because they're a woman' is used as an excuse - it's not a legal issue, it's a societal issue. Think about how it's illegal to not hire someone based on their race but in Australia if your name is 'Ahmed' you're probably less likely to get the job over an 'Andrew' with the same qualifications. The same sort of 'invisible' barriers for women exist. Just today I was made aware of a friend who was told she didn't get a job because she wasn't 'blokey' enough to fit into the organisation.
Consider the recent findings that 'CEOs or Chairs are more likely to be called John or Peter than be a woman'. Unless you think women are less capable that men, there is clearly some sort of barrier working against women achieving the same status in the workplace as men. Also women are still paid far less than men for the same work.
Check out this example for Australia's music industry that highlights the gap in opportunities for men and women.
Furthermore, when there are people like this that exist in positions of power, understandably, women are worried and upset. Clearly there is still bias in the workplace.
3. Talking about women in other countries and their suffering is a very clever tactic to devalue what women in Western countries are fighting for. I don't think there's a feminist in world that doesn't give a shit about what's happening in those countries- but that doesn't change the facts of what is still happening to them, and the women around them, in the Western countries they live in (1 woman a week in Australia are killed through domestic violence, 1 in 5 women you know will be sexually assaulted, not to mention the lesser career opportunities mentioned earlier). Her argument is akin to saying 'one woman a week dying from domestic violence is nothing compared to the many women that die at the hands of honour killings in India'. One terrible wrong does not make another terribly wrong any less severe. Why has it become a competition as to who suffers most? The women in western countries have every right to fight for the issues that affect them and hope that their fight inspires women in other countries to do the same ( although you'll find that there are already uprisings of women in developing countries fighting against these issues; we just don't hear about it as often).
4. Why are women so pissed off at Donald Trump? Firstly, taking away free birth control IS an issue. Access to these resources are vital particularly for the under privileged women who simply can't afford it. Its ironic because this report claims the women protesting are privileged yet here they are, fighting for an issue that affects women that are less fortunate than them.
The second reason that this is important, is that trump and his political party, are very openly anti-abortion. (Skip to 1:30 in This Video where Trump admits he believes women should be punished for having an abortion). This is another MASSIVE issue that quite frankly, only affects women's lives. They have already restricted funding for clinics in developing countries that provide information on abortion and abortion services (another example of these 'privileged women protesting against something that affects lesser privileged women; also ironic). Given all of this, women in the States are understandably on guard for Trump to limit their access to these vital services on US soil.
Furthermore, there is soooo much footage floating around of derogatory slurs Trump has directed at women, not to mention his pardoning of sexual assault when he discussed how ' he just starts kissing them...he doesn't even wait, ' and he can 'grab women by the pussy' as he pleases.
Understandably women were outraged. Outraged even further by the fact that a man that was openly exposed as saying these things somehow made his way into the most powerful seat in the world. It highlights that men accused of sexual assault, do not suffer in the slightest career wise (reffer to the recent example of Casey Affleck, accused on numerous accounts of Sexual Assault who just won an Oscar, or Johnny Depp who got cast in a major film following Domestic Violence Claims against him). Women however, who come forward about sexual assault, are often left to pay the price and are ignored ( see the recent case at UBER).
The things Trump has said send a worrying sign to women that they are not on his political agenda. Yes he hasn't changed a mass of laws legally disadvantaging women, but based off everything he's said, isn't it fair that women are worried he will? Not to mention the fact that the president of the US speaking so flippantly and disrespectfully of women unconsciously shows society that it's okay to do so, and it won't have any consequences ( refer to the rise in hate crimes against ethnic minorities following trumps election).
These protests are a political tool, and have always have been, to show the government they will not accept a president that devalues and clearly, disrespects women. It's not JUST about women in the workplace, it's a protest against a president who clearly doesn't value them.
5. Lastly, women speaking out against feminism or feminist acts is often used to discredit the movement entirely. And at a glance it's understandable; if there is a woman so passionately decrying that feminism is unnecessary , maybe it is all just a big fuss about nothing? However, it is so so important to realise that the oppressed will not always acknowledge their oppression. I grew up internalising a whole lot of sexist ideals and viewing them as 'the norm' only to challenge them when I had learnt more on the issues; a lot of feminists will have had the same experience. In this case perhaps this reporter is frustrated because as she said, she works in a male dominated industry and she's managed to make it where she is, so why are women complaining? Perhaps she's not aware of a likely pay gap between herself and her male colleagues, or has never had to deal with work place sexual harassment ( or has and just accepts it as 'the way things are' in the work place).
She may not fully know the extent of the ways she is disadvantaged as a woman ( for a number of reasons including education on the topic) or She may just have normalised these disadvantages and learned to just accept them and get on with her life. A great example from the documentary 'she's beautiful when she's angry' shows women speaking out against the suffragettes who were fighting for women to get the vote. In their minds, women didn't need the vote, life was peachy - they had food , their husbands didn't beat them, what was the fuss all about?
The fact of the matter is, it is so much easier to just accept the world the way it is and find a way to muddle through; it's no where near as exhausting, you don't need to constantly explain your beliefs and you don't deal with the hideous backlash of being an open feminist (refer to the numerous threats of Rape and abuse received due to a feminist bake sale).
But, there is nothing wrong about demanding better and that is simply what the women at the protest were doing, and rightly so.