How to Participate in International Women’s Day in Columbus
International Women’s Day is here, an annual reminder of women’s continual struggle and a celebration of their successes in spite of it. It’s a tradition carried forward since 1908. But, even if it can be counted on to show up every year on March 8, IWD’s theme is malleable, often conforming to the current events that surround it.
This year, IWD in the US seems inspired by what has been increasingly considered a joint Republican-Neoliberal agenda to suppress workers’ rights, which can have different and more severe ramifications depending on the aspects of a person’s identity (e.g. female, LGBTQ, non-white, immigrant, refugee).
With the loss of protections for trans students, Travel Ban 2.0, the promise to defund Planned Parenthood, and the rolling back of environmental protections, President Donald Trump and the Republican-led legislature have acted as a catalyst for more political engagement, but local activist Emily Shaw said the problem started long before January 20, and that former president Barack Obama was part of it as well.
“Obama was deporting people, too,” said Shaw, with the Columbus Coalition for International Women’s Day. “Economic conditions for the mass population — working people — have not improved since 2008.”
The feminist movement has, in turn, become a platform for workers’ issues. On International Women’s Day, two calls to action have been made nationally and are being implemented on the ground. First, feminists must take up anti-racism, anti-Islamophobia, and LGBTQ liberation. Second, women should make an effort on March 8 to demonstrate the impact of their economic involvement, or disengagement, both in the workplace and at home.
Locally, several events are going on throughout the day. Some are participating in A Day Without a Woman, the widespread event encouraging women to opt out of work, ignore domestic duties, like cooking and cleaning, and refrain from spending money at businesses unless they’re woman- or minority-owned. This action also calls for businesses to close for the day, in solidarity.
For those who can afford to take off work, an all-day event, the International Women’s Strike Solidarity Teach-In, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the MLK Lounge at Hale Hall Black Cultural Center. There, they’ll cover topics related to the official platform of the International Women’s Strike, including reproductive justice, ending gender violence, labor rights, environmental justice, anti-racist and anti-imperialist feminism, among others.
Not everyone can play hooky. Those who can’t miss work, a couple rallies are going down later in the day. The International Women’s Day Rally, taking place from 3 to 5 p.m., will lead protestors from Thompson Library at 1858 Neil Ave. to the OSU Union. So far, 469 people have committed to attending, less than half of the 1,300 committed to the A Day Without A Woman: International Women’s Day Rally. This bigger rally will start at Goodale Park at 4:30 p.m. It goes until 7:30 p.m.
A number of Columbus groups have come together to organize these events, including Women’s March on Washington — Ohio Chapter, the OSU Coalition for the International Women’s Strike, Socialist Alternative Columbus, and Columbus Coalition for International Working Women’s Day.