“A Day Without Women” already means a day without schools
International Women’s Day — and the “A Day Without A Woman” women’s general strike set to accompany it — hasn’t even arrived yet, and it’s already having the impact that strike organizers were hoping for: it’s proving that life can’t operate normally without women.
An area particularly hard-hit by the absence of women is education, where the vast majority of teachers and staff members are women. Dozens of schools along the east coast have already announced their plans to close on Wednesday, the Huffington Post reports, including all 16 schools in Alexandria, Virginia, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina and several schools in New York. School districts that are closing are citing the strike and saying they can’t safely stay open that day with the low staff numbers they’re anticipating.
Reports say more than 300 public school staff members requested Wednesday off in Alexandria, where every public school in the district will be closed for the day.
“Given the unusually high number of requests, this may be attributed to the observance of International Women’s Day. This day has also been deemed A Day Without [A Woman]. Consequently, ACPS has decided to close schools for students for the day,” Superintendent Alvin Crawley wrote on the district’s website. “This is not a decision that was made lightly. The decision is based solely on our ability to provide sufficient staff to cover all our classrooms, and the impact of high staff absenteeism on student safety and delivery of instruction. It is not based on a political stance or position.”
Jim Causby, superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City public school system, also released a statement explaining his decision to cancel school for the district.
“I asked our school principals and central office department heads to survey staff to find out how many absences would occur,” Causby said. “The results came back, and the number was significant. In fact, it is my determination that we will not have enough staff to safely run our school district.”
Meanwhile, a school in Brooklyn, New York, is embracing the political statement of closing its doors. Maple Street School sent a letter home to parents explaining why they support the strike.
“At Maple Street we have taught our kids, your kids, to have a voice, to use their words kindly but firmly, to always have a plan and think about the how and the why,” the letter read. “We practice with them how to protest, how to march for a cause, the importance of giving back to their communities, how to identify injustice and we show them how much we love and truly support their diverse lives, personalities and family by embracing their individuality rather than pretending its not there…. [In] this spirit, we as a staff will show our kids that not only do we talk the talk but we do actually practice all that we teach them.”
The “A Day Without A Woman” general strike is organized by the same minds behind the historic Women’s March on Washington, and it encourages women to take Wednesday off work, avoid spending money and wear red in solidarity with others who are participating. The idea behind the protest is to show that women are an integral part of daily life and the economy — and to stand up to President Donald Trump’s statements and policies about women. If you cannot take the day off, here are a list of ways you can show your support.
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