Karen Fratti
March 05, 2017 2:57 pm
Ebet Roberts/Getty Images

On March 8th, women all over the world are planning to participate in the international “Day Without Women.” Organizers want as many women as are able to strike from work, both paid and unpaid labor. Striking can be tricky though, which is why you should think carefully about how to tell your boss you’re joining the Women’s Strike. As stressful as that thought might be, remember that striking can be problematic for a lot of women who believe in the motive for the strike, but just can’t afford to take off work.

In fact, many of the women who can easily take off for the Women’s Strike on Wednesday might even already enjoy things like fair (if not totally equal) pay, paid parental leave, and comprehensive healthcare. It’s the women who depend on every day’s wages to stay afloat, are fearful of losing their jobs, or have no assistance with childcare, for example, that would benefit most from the kind of reforms the strike organizers and participants want.

There are other ways to participate in the “Day Without A Woman” other than striking. The Women’s March Organizers suggest wearing red that day to show solidarity and not spending money on things except essentials. Or, if you must spend cash, to do so in a women-owned business. If you’re out of work, are a stay-at-home mom, or work for yourself, you can find a place to volunteer to volunteer that day (ideally at an organization that supports women).

If you are lucky enough to work at a company where you feel comfortable participating in the strike, there are a few ways to go about telling your boss.

1Do It On The DL

Yes, the most empowering thing to do would be to shout it from the rooftops. But depending on what kind of work you do, announcing that you’re going to strike is announcing your politics, which in some places just isn’t done. There are some companies — especially in male dominated industries — where striking could affect your job or even just your relationship with coworkers who might not see things the same way and no one wants that. You’re not required to tell your boss you’re striking. If you want to just take a sick or personal day, that’s totally fine.

2Use The Form

If you feel confident that your boss will be OK with you striking, but aren’t sure how to knock on their office door to tell them, the organizers of the Women’s March have a form letter you can download or adapt to your news that pretty much lays it all out. For the introverts out there, you can copy it into an email (make sure you remember to take out the “INSERT COMPANY NAME” parts) and hit send. Problem solved.

They also have a letter to businesses to encourage owners to give female employees the day off. You can always print it out and make sure it gets to your boss’ desk. While you’re at it, print a bunch of them and take them to restaurants and retailers in your neighborhood to suggest that they give women — who are likely making minimum wage there and can’t afford the day — a chance to strike, too.

3Just Do It

If the letter doesn’t really fit your office culture or reflect your relationship with your boss, do it your own way. Tell them you’re striking. If they ask why, tell them. If you are lucky enough to have a job with certain privileges, tell your boss that you think ALL women should have paid parental leave, or any of the “perks” you and your colleagues enjoy.

If you’re going to strike, and feel comfortable doing so, make sure you tell people. File work due on Wednesday early, reschedule meetings, do whatever you have to do and tell your team it’s because you won’t be in the office for “A Day Without A Women.” And whatever you do, don’t check your work email while you’re striking in the name of dismantling the patriarchy. There were women in Iceland in 1975 who held a strike and even moms didn’t change diapers or cook for their families that day. Whatever work’s emailing about can wait a day. If only because there are so many women who’d like to be able to have the luxury.

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