To strike or not to strike? How women’s sites are tackling ‘A Day Without a Woman’ [Video]

In honor of International Women’s Day, the organizers of the highly successful Women’s March on Washington are promoting A Day Without a Woman. The initiative encourages women to strike from both paid and unpaid labor in order to demonstrate “the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system — while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”

The strike has been criticized for its exclusivity: Many women cannot afford to take a day off work. As a result, many women’s interest sites wrestled with whether to go dark in solidarity with the cause or continue publishing to keep their readers informed and acknowledge that not all women would be taking the day off.

The Cut, a site run by New York magazine, will not publish any new content Wednesday. A letter from the editors explains their mindset: “The Cut can’t possibly speak to or for every single American woman, but we decided to strike today to show solidarity with the women around the world who are standing up for equal pay and equal opportunity, reproductive freedom, an end to sexual assaults, an end to bigotry of all kinds, and policies that support our families like parental leave, health care, and child care.”

Jezebel will not go dark, but instead will be run by the male staffers of Gizmodo Media Group, of which Jezebel is a part, while female writers and editors participate in the strike and protests. A note from Jezebel’s editor in chief, Emma Carmichael, explains, “If the site feels different or off or even just ‘bad’ tomorrow, that is very much the point.” She explains that Jezebel’s staff hopes their male colleagues are thoughtful about how writing for a women’s site is different from their usual jobs.

Slideshow: International Women’s Day around the world >>>

Bustle and its sister site, Romper, also will not publish any content Wednesday. A letter points out that the editorial staff is 97% female, and “quite simply, without women, there is no Bustle. There is no Romper.” The company has arranged for employees to spend the day volunteering.

Teen Vogue, also citing its majority-female staff makeup, is participating in the strike as well. Recently, the site has received more attention for its political coverage, some of it skeptical, and it seems to hint at this in a note on its site, which reads, “Journalism is still an industry that disproportionately awards leadership and power to men, and as a result, we still struggle to be taken seriously when we talk about politics.”

Slideshow: ‘A Day Without a Woman’ protests across the U.S. >>>

Other sites will be live but will commemorate the day by contributing coverage. A piece on, “Go Ahead and Strike, but Know That Many of Your Sisters Can’t,” questioned the effectiveness of a strike in an era when “women’s work” is no longer as narrowly defined as it once was. “Without a specific, labor related point, after all, a ‘strike’ is just a particularly righteous personal day,” the author writes.

Glamour will also continue to publish, but its coverage will be entirely related to International Women’s Day. A note about the change in programming encourages readers to find their own way to commemorate the day: “There’s no right way to show your support: any action, no matter how small, has value. Today should be about inclusion, not exclusion.”


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