After Trump took office and the world was reeling in shock, it was women* who organized a worldwide women’s march to come together in solidarity. We know that through hate propaganda, women are often the most targeted, even through an intersectional lens of race, identity, migration status, and other factors that deepen discrimination and exclusion.
It is women who are pushing back against far right propaganda and division, and that is why a day without women will hopefully demonstrate the power of women within the struggle to advance fundamental rights for everyone.
We must ensure women of colour lead these movements as women’s campaigns rooted in the Global North often fail to understand or acknowledge the particular challenges that women of colour face. I was able to take part in the Dutch women’s march this year, and although it felt empowering to be part of something bigger, as a woman of colour I still felt alone. How we campaign together must be inclusive of all the issues that we face.
So on this International Women’s Day, let us not forget that although all women must fight for equality, women of colour have to struggle even harder to be recognized as equals.
The wage gap in the US is a concrete demonstration. Lydia O’Connor writing in the Huffington Post says that “for full-time, year-round employees nationwide, women earn a median annual $39,621 compared to men’s $50,383 — a yearly difference of $10,762. If a woman works for 40 years, then, that adds up to a lifetime shortfall of $430,480 as compared to a man.But most women of color can expect to lose out on a lot more. When compared to the earnings of white men, that wage loss figure rises to $883,040 for Native American women, $877,480 for black women and $1,007,080 for Latinas.”
A day without women means all women and we should remember to celebrate the unique experiences all of our women colleagues bring!
*International Women’s Day should be about all women and be trans inclusive.
Suhani Bhushan, Toronto