This week there was a “Day Without Women” demonstration. Did you know about it? I heard the goal was for women to 1) take the day off from paid and unpaid labor, 2) avoid shopping for the day, and 3) wear red in solidarity with women. Did you have any interest in taking part in any of those things?
No, to both questions. It’s the middle of the week, and work doesn’t just stop because I want to take a day off to protest. No one else does my job, so it won’t get done if I’m not there. It’s not a holiday, so if we are talking about equality, then I should be working just like everyone else...so we are equal.
Equality seems to be a main point of discussion among these types of protests. Are there any rights that men have that you feel like women don’t have? What do you think these protestors are looking for when they demonstrate for “equality”?
I don’t feel like there are any rights men have that women don’t, but I can’t speak for all women. I think they are just arguing to be a voice that’s heard and for respect but not really for equality. Doing equal things makes you equal. Just asking to be equal doesn’t make it so.
You mentioned how important your role at your job is. I read one of the organizers saying that the protest “is just as much about women not being present as being present and visible. It’s about showing what society looks like when women don’t actively participate in it.” Following that line of thinking, wouldn’t it have been a valuable lesson for your company if you skipped work as a way of showing how vital you are?
I think my employer knows how vital I am, and that is why they hired me in the first place. I’ve spent years obtaining skills, innovating, and making myself valuable in my field, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be replaced. I need to continue to show up and show my value so that my employer continues to think I am valuable. Feeling like I need to “take a stand” by being gone just opens the door for someone else to show up and do my job better. I don’t think anyone is arguing that the world would be a better place without women, so what exactly are we trying to prove by not being present in the marketplace?
As you know, I work with college-aged people every day, and they are a population that tends to get enamored by activism like this. Do you think the “Day Without Women” demonstrations are a good cause for young women to support?
I am all for women’s rights and for young people getting involved in causes they find important. People should defend whatever they want. But don’t join a cause just because you want to be part of a crowd.
Is there a better way than striking to show the importance of women’s roles in our society?
Be better. That’s how you show equality. By not showing up, that seems like a passive-aggressive way to make your point. Prove yourself valuable by doing your job to the best of your ability. And if you feel like other people aren’t recognizing your value, do more to make yourself even more valuable, or move and change your circumstance to where people do recognize you. Don’t rely on others to determine your value. Always be marketing your own value.
Sounds like that is good advice for either gender, right?
I would certainly think so.