Today is International Women’s Day. It is the day when we celebrate the women who have paved the way for us so that we can have the option to go to work or go to school or raise a family. It is the day that we continue to show how much of a positive impact we can have on the world.
But instead of celebrating how far we’ve come and the women who paved the way for us to do these things, many have decided to celebrate the ability to go to work by not going to work.
While I understand that they want to make a point that women have a serious impact on the economy, I don’t know many who ever doubted that notion. We make up half of the population, and we are the only gender that has the ability to birth the entirety of all generations. Of course we have an impact. But many have taken to protesting in order to prove a point in a way that will negatively affect more than just the workers.
It affects mothers, fathers, and children.
Let’s take a look at just one example where this is a problem: school. When teachers and other staff members decide to take off school in extremely large amounts of time, schools cannot operate. This affects more than just the staff members who aren’t showing up in order to prove a point. This affects mothers and fathers and children. If we just look at the women that this negatively effects, the impact is massive.
There are single mothers living paycheck to paycheck who can’t afford to hire a babysitter. There are mothers who work full time and taking off work for one day could impact their budget for the week or even the month. There are moms who were just out for a week from a death in the family or an illness of their own, and they don’t have any days left to take off. In many situations, taking off work for moms means finding and paying for a babysitter on short notice, which is an extremely inconvenient and difficult problem to solve.
Prince George’s County Public Schools is one of the school systems that is closed today. Their notice wasn’t given in much advance. It wasn’t until 5:30p.m. last night when they tallied a significant amount of staff who gave notice that they wouldn’t show. It was around dinner time the night before schools would suddenly close that thousands of students and parents had to find a quick solution. Many of those families are in an intense situation to begin with. According to a 2014 Washington Post article, in Prince George’s County “Of the 127,866 students in Maryland’s second-largest school district, 82,696 of the students come from poor families.”
According to the same article, in 2014, 64.67 percent of the students were enrolled in the school’s free or reduced lunch program. Some of these children have only one source of food for their entire day.
For some of these students, the only food that they have access to is the school’s. Where will these kids eat today? Even for the children who have food at home, they still may be affected. Some of these kids look to school as a safe haven. For some of these kids, school is where they know there will be a caring environment and a roof over their heads. Not every child has a house or food or basic necessities that we sometimes take for granted.
There is a bigger price at stake than making a stand by not showing up to work. There are people who are affected by people not showing up to work. And while I understand that part of the premise of this entire boycott today is to show how much of an impact women make, it doesn’t have to be done by putting other women in difficult situations.
If you want to stand up for the women who paved the way for us to have the ability to go to work, go to work. If you want to make it known that there are still extreme problems with gender equality throughout the world, ask your local businesses to donate part of today’s profit to an organization that helps fight for women throughout the world.
If you want to make and impact locally, go volunteer at your local women’s shelter or collect items that women need and give them to shelters. If today is a day that we are supposed to show how much of an impact we have, then we should impact the world in a positive way, because there have been people who have fought for their entire lives so we could do just that.