Amidst the global activity on International Women’s Day, I was able to participate in the International Women’s Strike by basically “disappearing” on March 8 from 2:30pm. This post describes my experience and explains the reason why I joined the strike.
International Women’s Day is a heartbreaking reminder of the women who’ve lost their lives fighting for equal rights. Yes, it is a celebration day, but it is also a commemoration of the battles women have fought over the years. It should be a day to reflect upon how women are treated in the workforce, and in every aspect of their lives, around the globe.
A couple of weeks ago, I heard a woman say that there was “no gender in business anymore”, and that inequality is the fault of women. She also shared a pamphlet stating that women only have two problems: 1. not having enough to wear, and 2. not having enough closet space to put clothes in.
I was struck, hurt deeply, and infuriated beyond comprehension. Far from judging her (although it was hard not to do so) I tried to understand the environment in which she grew upand the privileges she had not yet understood, especially considering this devastating data on the Mexican female workforce. I wanted to yell and defend all women in the workforce who are not valued, who are judged by their clothes, who are not taken seriously, who are unable to climb up the ladder. I wanted to scream as much as I could so maybe it could break the glass ceiling many are apparently unaware of. Unfortunately, I kept quiet, and I apologize for that.
March 8th was getting closer and closer, and I decided I wanted to disappear. #ADayWithoutWomen was something I wanted to be part of – I wanted to try to make an impact on the socio economic environment that surrounds me with my little grain of sand. I couldn’t do it from 9:00am to 3:30pm, but at 3:30pm, two of my closest female friends and I did a lock-down in my house. We all took different approaches to the strike, but I decided to stop using social networks, to not go to work, and really just do nothing! It was an interesting experience, and here are a few things that crossed my mind.
I am a privileged white Latina woman. I never realized how automatically I reach for my phone and open my social networks. I felt furious at myself for thinking that what I was doing was helping. I also felt angry to know that in my office I wouldn’t be missed because although there are only a few women, I was the only one on strike. I thought that what I was doing was stupid, selfish, and privileged, and basically meant nothing. Thankfully, my friends were there to encourage me.
Although I still think it was not the best way for me to make a statement, I can say that March 8 was one of the best days I’ve spent with my female friends. The environment we created was one of support, growth and tolerance. It was about getting informed and getting involved in issues regarding gender inequality in Mexico. Among the things we talked about were privilege, activism, intersectional feminism, self-domain, patience, politics and motivation.
For me, that day held another meaning: sorority and self-care. I learned that I need to be patience with myself, and that I am still learning to change my world or my environment.
If you participated in any way; either marching, staying home, wearing red or black, or shared information; you were a crucial part of International Women’s Day, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope we keep growing, and we keep fighting together, and I hope one day we share a word we all can be proud of.
Cover photo credit: Seth Doyle