- Why call a women’s strike for the inauguration?
Women had many good reasons to strike before this election, but now we have a president-elect who openly disrespects and assaults women, and wants to limit our roles to servant, mother, or sexual plaything. This strike comes from anger at men in our lives who didn’t vote, or who voted for Trump, or who aren’t taking seriously the threat that his presidency represents. And it is a reaction to an election campaign that—apart from Bernie Sanders in the primary—ignored the universal programs that women and all people need, and that work well in so many other countries, from paid family leave to childcare to national health care.
The Democrats didn’t pursue these plans when they could have, and now the Republican-majority Congress is promising to cut, undermine, privatize, or eliminate every social contract from public schools to Medicare to Social Security. They expect the family (that is, WOMEN) to fill in the gaps and pick up the pieces. NO WE WON’T. This strike is a warning. Our work can no longer be taken for granted.
- What if I can’t take the days off or otherwise leave work?
We believe this to be a women’s rights emergency, so we urge anyone who can take the day off and protest to do so. That might mean taking a vacation day, a personal day, or a sick day. If this is not possible, you can still sign the strike pledge and join the feminist resistance by picking some things on the list to strike on—from cooking to errands to fake smiles. We hope you will also be able to join a protest after work or on Saturday.
- What does striking mean? Do I have to tell off my supervisor or leave without warning?
This is a political strike, so the main target is not our employers (even though some may deserve it!), it’s the incoming Trump/Pence administration. Where possible, we want our coworkers and even supervisors to know why we’re taking the day off, but even if that’s not possible, the important thing is for us to be out in the streets demonstrating, and talking our families, friends, and coworkers about what need to make our lives fairer, happier, less hectic and more secure. In other words, what we should have been talking about during the election, but apart from when Bernie Sanders ran in the primary, these items were not topics in the media.
- Why collect strike pledges?
Sometimes organizations call for a protest strike, but there is no way to tell how many people are participating. The pledge count is a way to make it real. Our goal is 20,000 pledges. Why the 20,000 number? We are remembering the August 26, 1970 Women’s Strike in New York City which, according to the police, drew 20,000. It was a demonstration of the force of the new Women’s Liberation Movement which won us advances like reproductive rights and more equal job opportunities.
- What is a women’s strike?
Besides our jobs, women do a lot of work that is not paid, and often not even recognized as work. When women strike, that work stops, too. In addition to the 1970 Women’s Strike for Equality, in just the last three months there have been women’s strikes in Poland, Argentina, France and Iceland, for abortion rights, equal pay, and to end job discrimination and anti-woman violence.
- What about men?
Men should strike, too, but they should take on additional work at home to support women’s full participation in the demonstrations.
- Who is calling the strike?
We are National Women’s Liberation, the women who won the fight to get the Morning After Pill over the counter and who reintroduced “This Oppresses Women” stickers to fight sexist advertisers. National Women’s Liberation is a feminist group for women who want to fight back against male supremacy and win more freedom for women. We believe that change comes about from the actions of everyday people—not politicians, the courts, lobbyists, or the media. The freedoms we have now were won by movements of women, organizing and fighting for change. We are funded by the dues of women, not corporations or their foundations. The leadership and participation of women of color is critical to the success of the women’s liberation movement; National Women's Liberation addresses struggles particular to women of color and racism within the feminist movement through our Women of Color Caucus.
- What is the Women of Color Caucus?
The Women of Color Caucus is an organizing think tank composed of women of color associated with National Women’s Liberation. As active leaders and organizers within the Women’s Liberation Movement, we recognize that a strong and viable movement must work for the interests and utilize the talents and experiences of women of color. Women of color must meet separately from white women to better understand how white supremacy intersects with other forms of oppression, i.e. male supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, and discrimination of women based on their sexual orientation. In this way, women of color will develop theory on how best to address racism within NWL, the women's liberation movement in general, and our larger society. It is vital that women of color study and analyze our diverse experiences to better understand racism, sexism and the insidious combination of both. In this way, women of color will develop theory to strengthen the larger Women’s Liberation Movement.