Police in New York arrested three leaders of the Women’s March movement for blocking traffic outside the Trump International Hotel on Wednesday as they took part in the global “Day Without Women” strike, called to mark International Women’s Day.
Shortly after they were detained, the group’s Twitter feed shared images of Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez inside a New York Police Department van with other activists.
As Dayna Tortorici explained last week in the journal n+1, women in dozens of countries responded to the call for a one-day Women’s Strike.
In more than thirty countries, women will refuse to do work — any work, paid or unpaid — that they do not wish to do. They will not cook breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They will not clean, watch children, buy groceries, drive carpool, fold clothes, wash dishes, or have sex — at least the kind of sex that feels like work. They will not work the assembly line or the phones, take your order or ring you up. They will skip shifts at hospitals, universities, and labs. They will not send emails (“sorry for the delayed response!”) or schedule appointments, braid hair, paint fingernails, or wax groins. They will wear red, march in the streets, block bridges and roads, and make demands whose fulfillment is long overdue. Equal pay. Paid parental and medical leave. Universal child care. Universal health care. Freedom from sexual abuse. Freedom from deportation. Freedom from racism. Freedom from violence.
Outside the United States, among the largest gatherings in support of reproductive rights took place in Ireland and Poland, two traditionally conservative, Catholic nations where political leaders have resisted calls to make abortion safe and legal.
Thousands of protesters brought traffic to a standstill in the Irish capital, Dublin, chanting for the repeal of the country’s Eighth Amendment, which, since 1983, has given an unborn fetus the same right to life as a pregnant woman. The protest was organized by activists calling for a referendum to repeal the amendment.
Women also rallied in the Polish capital, Warsaw, where a women’s strike in October had helped defeat a proposal to make abortion illegal.
While protests in the United States focused on the real and present danger of President Donald Trump, the movement has been embraced in dozens of countries, as activists in Sweden explained on YouTube.
While Democrats in Washington expressed solidarity with the strike by wearing red to work, Sen. Elizabeth Warren explained that lawmakers decided not to remain home, fearing what their Republican counterparts might do in their absence.
The Trump administration, by contrast, attempted to mark the day in somewhat awkward ways, like having the first lady lunching with prominent female supporters of the president, including his daughter Ivanka, his adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, one of the few women in his cabinet.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security, which could soon start separating mothers and children detained for illegal entry into the country, celebrated what it called its diverse staff by sharing an image of one female officer.