When Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym heard that two-thirds of her female staffers were taking the day off from work on Wednesday, March 8, she didn’t get angry. In fact, she was pleased.
“I'm glad to support all of my female staffers who will be on strike tomorrow,” Gym said on Tuesday. “They will be missed tomorrow, and we'll see how it goes without them.”
They will be supporting “A Day without a Woman,” a nationwide event that coincides with International Women’s Day. Organizers of the massive Women’s March on Washington in January are spearheading "A Day without a Woman."
The nationwide demonstration is intended to show “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," organizers said.
In Philly, many women teachers have already announced plans to skip work Wednesday, as part of the protest. There will also be an International Women's Day march, beginning at Logan Square in the afternoon; and a gathering beforehand for children and parents to make signs at Aviator Park. The day will end with a benefit concert.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is organizing pickets outside various Philly public schools on Wednesday morning, protesting the fact that teachers haven't had raises in the last five years.
Several of the teachers at the Science Leadership Academy are expected to skip work Wednesday, the Inquirer reported.
“Our schools simply could not function without the work of women,” the PFT said.
“‘A Day without a Woman’ should remind us that women’s labor — paid, unpaid, and emotional — keeps our city and this country running,” Gym said.
Organizers are encouraging women who can’t skip work Wednesday to mark the protest by taking the day off from paid and unpaid labor, avoiding shopping for one day (except at small, women- and minority-owned businesses), and by wearing red in solidarity.
7:30 a.m. - Picketing
Teachers will picket outside various public schools for a new contract. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan and Councilwoman Helen Gym will picket at H.A. Brown Elementary School.
1 p.m. – Rally
Protesters will gather outside Sen. Pat Toomey’s office, U.S. Custom House, 200 Chestnut Street.
3:30 p.m. – Gathering
Before the International Women’s Day march, children and families will gather in Aviator Park for art and sign-making.
5 p.m. – Protest in Logan Square
Participants will gather at Logan Square and march to Thomas Paine Plaza, stopping at several locations to show solidarity with those who work in traditionally women-dominated industries.
7:30 p.m. – Benefit concert
Unify! An International Women’s Day Benefit Concert will feature all-women bands and musicians, to support the new Crossroads Women’s Center, at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street.