In past years, I've been only vaguely aware of International Women's Day. It hasn't been a big deal here in the United States in my lifetime before this year. Friends and acquaintances from countries where it's a holiday would mention it, but this year, it's big news here in the U.S.
A Women's Strike is planned for today, and women are encouraged to strike from all labor, paid, unpaid, emotional, however labor can be defined. There's been debate about whether the ability to strike is a privilege for those who can afford to do so without serious consequences, and what the ramifications of a strike might be. Significant impact to the daily routine is the point of a strike, and in the past they've been powerful tools to obtain better working conditions. It's a complex issue, and I've been grappling with it myself. I work for myself, at home, and I live alone. The labor I perform day-to-day is primarily for my own benefit. So, I've been unsure of what to do that would mark today as different from most other days.
The United Nations marks International Women's Day, and each year they choose a theme to focus on. This year's is "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030." It's an admirable goal.
How is the United States doing in meeting this goal? Elle has a great piece that explores some of the factors affecting women's labor force participation rate:
Less than a third of women over age 16 worked at the end of World War II; by the turn of the century that number peaked at just over 60 percent, according to Achuthan. In the waning days of Bill Clinton's presidency, it looked like women's labor force participation rate would soon become equal to men's, which was hovering over 70 percent at the turn of the century. Instead, women's LFPR declined slightly and then leveled off in this century. This has "taken away a major pillar of labor force growth, which helps define the limits to job growth," Achuthan writes in a recent report on the subject, addressing Trump's economic goals. "Without a dramatic surge in immigration or the number of women joining the labor force—it will be virtually impossible for any president to add 25 million jobs in the next eight years."
The whole piece is pretty interesting. Women's labor force participation continues to be impacted by factors such as family planning and access to affordable child care.
What about you? Are you participating in the strike in some way?