My favorite book is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Set in a not-too-futuristic religious dystopia, women aren’t permitted to be educated, hold property, or make decisions regarding their bodies. Any fertile, unmarried woman is enslaved as a child bearer for a wealthy, childless couple. These women are called handmaids, and they are perpetually clad in red. During a particularly chilling passage, the protagonist, Offred, describes the day when society began to quickly change. She went to buy a pack of cigarettes and her debit card no longer worked; it was decided overnight that women could no longer control their finances. She went to work and was, along with all other women in her office, fired; it was decided overnight that women could no longer be employed.
No work. No spending money. Dressed in red. These similarities make me uneasy.
It’s not just the prescient details of my favorite book that turn me off from A Day Without A Woman. This event reeks of privilege. You know who won’t be taking the day off? Women with minimum-wage jobs. Women with hourly or part-time jobs. Women who cannot incur the cost of childcare. Women who are breadwinners. Women who are disabled. Women who searched for weeks or months or years to finally secure a job. Women with employers who would harass them for requesting such a day off. How many of these women struggle to keep their heads and those of their children above water? How many of these are minorities or women of color?
A Day Without A Woman is a misnomer—it’s just A Day Without Women Who Can Afford It.