WATCH: New York City’s women strike to show their economic power

“We’re not a monolith, we’re half the population.”

The streets in front of the Trump International Hotel on Wednesday were filled with a sea of protesters, donned in red, chanting, “A day without a woman is a day without me.” The Day Without A Woman strike, organized by the women behind January’s Women’s March on Washington, called on women to skip work and refuse to spend money.

Hundreds flooded the New York City streets during the day and ten of the organizers, including Linda Sarsour, were arrested for blocking traffic, according to the Women’s March on Washington.

“Today we took our leadership and guidance from…our immigrant sisters and brothers who did a day without immigrants and really showed the economic power of immigrants across the country,” said Sarsour.

Editor’s note: Jamia Wilson is Executive Director of Women Action & the Media, where producer Martyna Starosta is a current member.

Full transcript:

ANNA MARIE ELLEY, Teacher at Maple Street School: Today, we shut down one of the schools, which is the younger infant section, and we provided services for that school in our pre-school class. Less teachers are here, but what I’ve noticed today is that we have more support of our dads. The men came out to support our teachers.

CROWD: A day without a woman is a day without me.

LINDA SARSOUR, Co-chair, Day Without A Woman: The precedent for a day without a woman was from our immigrant sisters and brothers who did a day without immigrants and really showed the economic power of immigrants across the country, where entire businesses and industries and many parts of the city were shut down, and the solidarity that came out with our undocumented sisters and brothers in particular. So, today we took our leadership and guidance from them.

JAMIA WILSON, Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media (WAM): Ida B. Wells said that a lot of the appeals to conscious that were happening during the anti-lynching movement were good, but not as effective as appealing to the wallets of those in power.


That’s another reason why I’m striking, because we’ve seen through the National Farmworker’s Movement, we’ve seen through the Mongomery bus boycott, we’ve seen in Iceland with both of the women’s strikes there which resulted later in them building the groundwork for them to have the first women president in the world, that economic solidarity works as a tactic.

RADHIKA BALAKRISHNAN, Faculty Director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University: Today, at 1 p.m. when I shut down my computer, I felt very liberated. I left and walked over here. Though I didn’t do an all day strike, I did do a half a day strike. And I think the symbolism of a strike is about the rights of workers.

NORA REVENAUGH: Up until three years ago, I’d always worked as an independent contractor and I had never had a paid day of leave, not a paid sick day, paid lunch break, paid vacation. Definitely no paid maternity leave. So, I felt like it was important now that I am lucky and privileged enough to have those things to show up and have that conversation.

The women’s strike is messy in the ways that all issues surrounding women’s labor are messy. We’re not a monolith, we’re half the population. We work in many industries. Some of us do paid, some unpaid labor.

MAGALLY MIRANDA, Member of the New York City Organizing Committee for the International Women’s Strike: We’re seeing a resurgence of a feminist movement that is capable of speaking to the issues of women of the 99 percent. I was most surprised that the people that are striking today are not the traditional left. It’s not just the most militant parties and labor movement leaders. It’s people.


SARA DAVID, Editor, Complex Magazine: I am an editor at Complex and I’m here with 30 plus of my co-workers. We basically just started emailing each other and discussing it and saying we wanted to participate in a day without a woman and just confirming that we would stand up for each other if one was penalized, that the other ones of us would step in and stand up for what’s right. And we got a big enough group that they can’t fire us all, so they supported us in the end and here we are. Yay!