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The Council of Canadians in solidarity with #DayWithoutAWoman strike, March 8

The Council of Canadians is in solidarity with the #DayWithoutAWoman general strike on March 8.

As noted on the organizing website, “On International Women’s Day, March 8th, women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity. In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”

One can take action in the following ways:

  • Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labour

  • Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses)

  • Wear red in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

Some of the women at the Council of Canadians will be participating in the day in these ways as well as by watching the film Suffragette (you can watch the trailer here), participating in a protest condemning the taxi driver and judge in the recent decision of not guilty on a sexual assault charge in Halifax, and other actions.

While the strike is in response to sexist and misogynist comments by US President Donald Trump, we are also drawing attention to the actions of our self-described feminist prime minister.

The Canadian Press has reported, “[Justin Trudeau] received a shout-out from Trump in his first speech to a joint session of the US Congress [on February 28], with a salute to a joint project they recently launched together. The president mentioned Trudeau while highlighting the women’s business group created during the prime minister’s recent visit to Washington, which involves the president’s daughter Ivanka.”

Globe and Mail columnist Leah McLaren comments, “These are the things we do for trade deals [but] was it really necessary for our feminist Prime Minister to make such an utter mockery of women’s rights (which are under real threat in the United States at the moment) while he was on a social visit to casually secure broader points of the North American free-trade agreement?” And Press Progress has also noted the NAFTA strategy behind the women’s business group and how it helped Trump given he “has been accused of sexually assaulting over a dozen women.”

In The Jacobin, Cinzia Arruzza and Tithi Bhattacharya write, “The strike will take place in at least forty countries — the first internationally coordinated day of protest on such a large scale in years.”

They add, “Many discussions about the strike, particularly in the United States, have centered on whether it is correct to call March 8 a ‘strike’ at all, rather than a demonstration. This criticism misses the point. Women’s strikes have always been more encompassing in their targets and aims than traditional walkouts over wages and working conditions. …Moreover, because of the sexual division of labor in the formal labor market, a vast number of women hold precarious jobs, don’t have labor rights, are unemployed, or are undocumented workers.”

And Arruzza and Bhattacharya conclude, “Instead of a narrow focus on workplace struggles, we need to connect movements based on gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality together with labor organizing and environmental activism. Only by creating this collective totality will we be able to address the complexity of issues and demands put forward by these various forms of mobilization. This is the path that the International Women’s Strike is pursuing, with its expansive platform and inclusiveness.”

For an FAQ on the strike, please click here.