Wednesday, March 8, is being promoted as A Day Without A Woman, an event created to “highlight the economic power and significance” of women and call “attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face,” according to organizers.
Women are being encouraged to take the day off from paid or unpaid labor as a form of protest. Participants are also being asked to refrain from shopping on the day, and to wear red as a sign of solidarity with the movement.
Critics have pointed out the irony that only people of privilege are able to participate without risking serious repercussions, because many women—perhaps most—don’t have the luxury of taking the day off from their normal responsibilities. Skipping work could mean losing a day’s pay or perhaps losing a job, period. And even some women who don’t work outside the home have no one else to rely on to take care of their children or handle other household duties—so taking the day off to march in protests, attend rallies, or simply rest may not really be an option.
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Theoretically, however, what would a day without women truly look like? Here are some of the ways America would suddenly be transformed if all women went on strike or simply vanished altogether.
Nearly half of America’s workforce would disappear. Women account for 47% of all workers in the United States.
Median earnings would soar. Women work nearly two-thirds of the minimum-wage jobs in the U.S., and across all industries women make 79¢ for every $1 earned by men. Median annual earnings for full-time female workers were $39,621 in 2014, compared to $50,383 for men. So if women were somehow removed from the picture, median earnings would suddenly rise sharply.
America’s children wouldn’t learn much. More than three-quarters of public school teachers are women, and the education system would collapse without them. In fact, some school districts in North Carolina and Virginia are telling students to stay home on Wednesday because they anticipate that so many women won’t show up to work that the schools won’t be able to function.
Other industries would be decimated too. Women account for the majority of workers in many fields, according to Census data, including:
• 96% of all dental hygienists
• 91% of all registered nurses
• 84% of all cashiers
• 60% of all accountants
• 53% of all pharmacists