HOUSTON- After putting on marches that drew millions of people around the globe in January, now the organizers of the Women’s March are drumming up something new: a general strike they’re calling “A Day Without a Woman”.
On Monday, a video message was broadcast from Hillary Clinton to the audience at the MAKERS Conference on women’s leadership in California. It was the former Presidential candidate’s first statement since the inauguration of her opponent, President Donald Trump.
“You are the heroes and history makes, the glass ceiling breakers of the future,” said Clinton. “Despite all the challenges we face, I remain convinced that yes, the future is female. Just look at the amazing energy we saw last month as women organized a march that galvanized millions of people all over our country and across our world.”
The same women behind that march are gearing up for Round Two: a general strike they’re calling “A Day Without a Woman”.
“Our Facebook pages our blowing up with people wanting more details about it,” said Nisha Randle, who organized the Houston group that marched in January’s Women’s March in D.C. “I think it’s just the logical step in showing our collective power as women who want our voices heard.”
Randle hopes the general strike will help demonstrators’ message reach lawmakers from Capitol Hill all the way down to City Hall.
“If you can stay home from work, stay home from work,” said Randle. “If you have to go to work, then there’s gonna be ways for you to participate as well.”
“People are still conscious that things are not equal,” said Elizabeth Gregory, Professor of English and Director of the Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Houston. “Equal pay issues are still widely discussed.”
Gregory said the general strike may not be so much about stopping the way business works, but rather raising consciousness about the importance of women in everybody’s lives.
“It hasn’t been a big part of the fight for women’s rights, but it’s clearly a labor technique,” said Gregory. “Sometimes those have been very successful.”
One example Gregory mentioned was the striking by unions to win weekends off.
She also said whether the strike happens on a weekend or a weekday, when more people are working, could be a factor in how much of a statement this makes. Organizers have not yet announced a date.
One expert told KHOU there was a similar strike in 1970, part of the women rights movement that led to Congress passing the Equal Rights Amendment. However, not enough states ratified it, it was never added to the Constitution, and now many of the same issues are being pushed into the spotlight again.