As I'm seeing all these posts scroll across the news feed about Alexandria City schools closing and women standing in solidarity by skipping work, I have to wonder, what is going on? Are women all of a sudden being deprived of something that they had received in abundance the last eight years? Has the rate of rape and gender discrimination gone up? Is the glass ceiling rising? Is the pay gap between men and women suddenly widening since November when these causes suddenly seemed to pop up? And, I have to ask where is all this coming from? What did Obama do in office for the last eight years that helped all these things? That is a genuine question. Because, I'm worried that I'm missing something. It seems to me that pay inequality didn't suddenly change overnight just because Trump was sworn into office. Yet, that's when all the outrage began.
I have to ask, is this really about gender discrimination, sexual crimes, and harassment in the work place? If, so what does staying home from work accomplish? I was discussing it this morning with a Millenial woman and she pointed out, "If I was being harassed at work, I wouldn't strike, I just wouldn't work there!" She has a point. And, you know, when I was younger, I had a boss who was very disrespectful to his employees. One day, I got sick of being berated for a simple mistake or misunderstanding and it was the very last straw. I marched into his office and I told him exactly what I thought of the way he treated people (respectfully- I believe my direct words were "I don't like the way you treat people."). And, you know what he said to me? "That's the real world." I said something about how it wasn't my real world and I quit.
Back to the Women's Day Off; I went to Facebook to see what others were thinking. Now I have a lot of likeminded friends so this isn't the whole picture by any stretch but I do like to encourage diverse opinions and logical thinking. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what this day even is- many many people referenced teachers. Why? Because that seems to be the largest group that are participating. I just don't see that skipping work is accomplishing a greater good. And, isn't that the point of strikes or protests? After discussing it with people on both sides of the issue, I'm still confused. As far as I can tell, no one I know is openly 100% supportive of the idea for the same reason that I can't figure any of this out: they don't know what staying home from work on one day of the year is going to accomplish for women in America. Raising awareness? Maybe. But, again for what? Several of my friends (one a teacher) pointed out that their pay at their particular workplace is equal to that of a man with the same position and experience. Surely, this is not the case everywhere and I also heard vague references of percentages of pay inequality but I'll be honest, I haven't done enough research to know if those numbers are right and if they take into account all the variables (time in the workforce, experience, any employment gap etc). I'll give you that but as one facebook user said "since we make 70 cents to a man's dollar...we can't afford to miss work." So, does any of this really make sense? Who is this "strike" benefitting and who is it hurting?
It's not that I have a problem with people choosing to stay home any day of the year for whatever reason they see fit. I basically invented the mental health day excuse. But, what is to be accomplished by shirking your duties for a cause that is at best muddled. My real question here is do you really feel undervalued as a woman in the USA? I never have. But, maybe that's because I believe that men and women aren't equal. Men aren't better than women. Women aren't better than men. Instead, they fill in the blanks in each other's natures. What talents and abilities each man and woman have depends on their individuality as a person as much as it does with their gender. Undeniably, women can do some things men can't and vice versa. I see some places that women do carry a heavy burden. Expected to do it all: work, mother, care for the home. But, I see this as a consequence of the feminist movement itself. I whole heartedly agree that women should have opportunities in the workplace equal to men. But, you can't do it all. No one can. And, we do a disservice when we expect ourselves to just because we're women.
This statement by Alex Powers (gasp a man, I know, but even men can make good points- sometimes anyway) sums it up pretty well. I'll leave you with his response to my question: "What do you think A Day without a Woman will accomplish?"
"Lots of unintended consequences and counterproductive effects. Many working women who wanted to work will have to take off tomorrow to watch their kids who are off from school from teacher truancy. It will likely be disproportionately women affected this way so one group of women will be picking up the slack for another group. Not truly a day without all women. And many other women will continue to work tomorrow and society will continue to function better than if all women really did no work all day. This means the effect felt of this protest will have less heft to its punch. Basically society will say (unfairly): 'This is what 'a day without women' really feels like? [No Big Deal].'"