After the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 22, some of the questions that critics asked most frequently were: “what’s next?” or “what now?” Since there was a huge spectacle that came from the protest, the question remained: what would be the follow-up that would take things a step further and actually start accomplishing the goals of the protest? Those who organized the Women’s March on Washington have responded with a new project, ready to follow the march and leave an unforgettable mark. The new protest is called, “A Day Without Women.” Set to happen on March 8, “A Day Without Women” asks women to not go to their respective workplaces for one day in order to demonstrate to America what a world without women would look like. The goal is to hold those accountable who might have taken women in the workplace for granted and fight against the many challenges that women face in the workplace every day. While I sympathize with the image that the organizers are trying to convey and I am strongly in support of better working conditions and equal pay for women in selected fields, I believe that actually carrying out a protest of this kind is impractical and reeks of white feminism and class privilege.

First of all, there are a lot of women who absolutely cannot leave their jobs and expect to have them still waiting for them when they come back — not even for one day. Fast food restaurants and small convenience stores don’t need to keep employees who miss a day of work just to participate in a protest when they have many people lined up to take their place. Asking women who hold jobs of these kinds to participate in such a protest is unfair and is asking too much, especially considering that these jobs pay little as it is and, in some cases, are a family’s only source of income. We can see the consequences when looking at a similar protest that happened just last week. “A Day Without Immigrants” took place on Feb. 16 and there were may cases of immigrants who left their jobs to protest and were subsequently fired. According to CNBC, the companies who fired them were clear that they did not fire them because they disagreed with the protest, but because they had missed days of work. Asking women to risk the same result to support a cause seems irresponsible and actually quite contrary to what the protest is really trying to accomplish — namely, better working conditions and wages for women, especially single mothers. However, the protest seems to be excluding precisely these single mothers, who should not be asked to risk their only form of income.

There are also women who absolutely cannot leave their jobs for a day without causing harm to other people who don’t deserve to have their days disrupted in such a fashion. Children in school shouldn’t have to miss a day because their teachers are protesting and patients in hospitals and nursing homes shouldn’t lack care just to prove a point. Concerning women who are doctors, nurses, EMTs, private care providers or are in any way associated with work in healthcare, missing a day of work could quite literally mean the difference between life and death for another human being. It is unfair not just to the women in this case who are being asked to leave their important work, but also to the hundreds of people who depend on them — to have a protest that would put lives at risk and cause unnecessary harm and suffering.

I believe in equal pay for equal work and I will hear arguments on benefits that should be afforded to women in the workplace, but I don’t think that “A Day Without Women” is the right way of going about accomplishing such goals. The only women who would be able to take part in such a protest are the ones who don’t rely on their salaries to support themselves and/or their families. It is not a protest that is practical for all women and therefore, I don’t think that it’s the most productive protest. The protest will put unnecessary pressure on women who have worked hard to get and keep jobs and will force them to give it all up in the name of a single protest. I believe that we should fight for women in the workplace, but in the case of “A Day Without Women,” I don’t believe that the end justifies the means.

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