Women in the United States plan to use International Women’s Day on Wednesday to stay off the job and stage demonstrations across the country in an effort to seize on the momentum built from the massive marches held a day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
On “A Day Without a Woman,” those who are able to do so will stay away from work or school, much as immigrants did on Feb. 16 to protest Trump’s immigration policies.
All are part of the series of anti-Trump demonstrations that have taken place since the day after his Nov. 8 election.
Objectives of Wednesday’s events include calling attention to the gender pay gap in which women trail men, and deregulating reproductive rights.
“For years and years, March 8 has been International Women’s Day, and it has been a happy, happy day, which is fine,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. “But the political climate that we find ourselves in right now requires us to have political power.”
Demonstrations will target a Trump “gag order” that bars foreign health providers receiving U.S. funds from raising abortion as an option, O’Neill said.
Early Wednesday morning, Trump urged others via his personal Twitter account to join him in honoring the critical role of women in America and around the world.
“I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy,” the Republican president wrote (@realDonaldTrump).
Trump has been heavily criticized for his inflammatory comments when discussing women, including his boast in a 2005 video about grabbing women by the genitals, and referring to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as a “nasty woman” during a presidential debate.
American women on average earn 79 cents for every $1 that men make, and African-American and Latina women make even less, O’Neill said. Since women account for two-thirds of all minimum wage workers, lifting the hourly wage would significantly narrow the pay gap, she said.