US women mark Women’s Day with strike and protests | USA News

Women in US

  • Women make up more than 47 percent of the US workforce 
  • They earn 80 cents for every dollar a man makes

American women demonstrating how vital women are to the US economy have  stayed home from work, joined rallies or wore red, as International Women’s Day was observed with a multitude of events around the world.

The Day Without a Woman protest in the US was promoted by organisers of the vast women’s marches that drew more than 1 million Americans the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The turnout this time was much smaller, with crowds in many places numbering in the hundreds. There were no immediate estimates of how many women heeded the call to skip work some schools were closed as not enough staff would turn up for work.

“Trump is terrifying. His entire administration, they have no respect for women or our rights,” 49-year-old Adina Ferber, who took a vacation day from her job at an art gallery to attend a demonstration in New York City, told the AFP news agency. “They need to deal with us as an economic force.”

The US event – inspired in part by the Day Without an Immigrant protest held last month – was part of the UN-designated International Women’s Day.

A crowd of about 1,000 people, the vast majority of them women, gathered on New York’s Fifth Avenue in the shadow of Trump Tower. Women wore red and waved signs reading “Nevertheless she persisted,” ”Misogyny out of the White House now” and “Resist like a girl”.

At least 13 protesters were arrested for “disorderly conduct” after sitting in the street near the Trump Hotel, disrupting traffic. 

Some of the main organisers of the Women’s March – Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland –  were among those arrested, a statement from the organisers confirmed.

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School in such places as Prince George’s County, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, cancelled classes after hundreds of teachers and other employees let it be known they would be out.

In Providence, Rhode Island, the municipal court closed for lack of staff members.

In Washington, DC, more than 20 Democratic female representatives walked out of the Capitol to address a cheering crowd of several hundred people.

Dressed in red, the lawmakers criticised efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi encouraged more women to go into politics, saying, “You have marched for progress. Now you must run for office.”

As part of the Day Without a Woman protest, women were also urged to refrain from shopping.

Some criticised the strike, warning that many women cannot afford to miss work or find child care.

Organisers asked those unable to skip work to wear red in solidarity.

““It’s almost impossible for a single mother, a low-income worker, a minimum-wage earner to take the day off,” Sarah Sophie Flicker, a protest organiser in New York, told Al Jazeera. “Everyone here stands in solidarity with women who can’t strike.”

A few hundred people gathered on the lawn outside Los Angeles City Hall to rally for women’s rights. 

Hundreds of women dressed in red and holding signs with photos of their local lawmakers gathered at the Utah Capitol to remind legislators they are closely watching how they handle women’s issues.

In Denver, several hundred people marched silently around the state Capitol.

Kelly Warren brought her daughters, ages 3 and 12.

“We wanted to represent every marginalised woman whose voice doesn’t count as much as a man’s,” Warren, a sales associate in the male-dominated construction industry, told AFP.

In New York, a statue of a fearless-looking girl was placed in front of Wall Street’s famous charging bull sculpture. The girl appeared to be staring down the animal. A plaque at her feet read: “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.”

Trump took to Twitter to salute “the critical role of women” in the US and around the world. He tweeted that he has “tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy”.

The White House said none of its female staff members skipped work in support of International Women’s Day.

Women make up more than 47 percent of the US workforce and are dominant among registered nurses, dental assistants, cashiers, accountants and pharmacists, according to the census.

They make up at least a third of physicians and surgeons, and the same with lawyers and judges. Women also account for 55 percent of all college students.

At the same time, American women earn 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. The median income for women was $40,742 in 2015, compared with $51,212 for men, according to census data.

A statue of a girl facing the Wall Street Bull was put up to push companies to put women on their boards [Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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