American women are staying home from work, zipping up their wallets and attending rallies across the country on Wednesday to show their economic strength and impact on society as part of International Women’s Day.
“A Day Without a Woman” was the first major action by organizers of the Women’s March since the day after President Trump’s inauguration, when millions of women poured into the streets in protest of abuse, inequality and prejudice against women.
According to the U.S. Census, women make up more than 47 percent of the workforce but continue to be paid less than men, earning 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. The median income for women was $40,742 in 2015, compared with $51,212 for men.
Cassady Findlay, a spokeswoman for organizers of Wednesday’s event, said they aimed to show how women’s work, paid or not, keeps households and communities running. “We provide all this value and keep the system going and receive unequal benefits from it,” she said.
School districts in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Alexandria, Virginia, were among those that canceled classes because so many teachers had requested the day off. Cities from New York to Berkeley, California, held rallies in support of women.
International Women’s Day is a United Nations-organized event that celebrates women’s achievements and calls for “accelerating gender parity,” or equality between men and women. German airline Lufthansa had six all-woman crews flying from several cities in the country to Berlin. Sweden’s women’s soccer team replaced the names on the back of their jerseys with tweets from Swedish women “who have struggled to gain ground in their respective field,” the team said. Finland announced plans to create a $160,000 International Gender Equality Prize. Women also held rallies in cities including Tokyo, Japan, and Madrid, Spain.