The Women’s March on Washington spawned more than 600 sister marches in more than 75 countries around the world. The turnout in Washington, D.C., alone far exceeded expectations, with an estimated half a million people turning out, while the worldwide estimate sits above 3 million. But despite the impressive crowds the question remains — what happens next? How about a mass strike, where women around the world walk out of work on March 8th in protest against male violence and in defense of reproductive rights? Well, mark your calendar, because that’s precisely what one group of women is calling for.
In an Op-Ed for The Guardian, a group of feminist activists and writers — including Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation; Angela Davis, founder of Critical Resistance, which advocates for prison reform; and Rasmea Yousef Odeh, associate director of the Arab American Action Network — issued a call for “feminism for the 99 percent.”
They argue that the impressive size of the marches worldwide signified the emergence of a “new wave of militant feminist struggle” and insist it must be harnessed to create a more inclusive and broad-reaching women’s movement. It is not enough, they say, for this new movement to focus solely on rejecting the transphobia, misogyny and racism of the Trump administration. Instead, it must seek to challenge the structural issues bound up with neoliberalism that predate Donald Trump’s presidency and discriminate against women in a multitude of ways, including through social provision and labor rights.
Where ‘lean-in’ brands of feminism have, they suggest, typically focused on issues facing a narrow, largely white and privileged group of women, this new brand of feminism must seek to address the concerns facing all women, including those for whom life can only be improved through policies defending “social reproduction, secure reproductive justice and guarantee labor rights.”
In order to build on this movement they join feminist groups from around 30 countries in calling for a mass strike of women on March 8th, International Women’s Day. The strike is integral, they suggest, to continuing the momentum of the recent Women’s March and of drawing attention to the sorts of issues that mainstream feminism has long ignored. And they’re taking inspiration from another successful women’s movement that made headlines in 2016.
Read the full Op-Ed at The Guardian.