On March 8th 2017, “to highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the U.S. and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face,” the leaders of the Women’s March executed “A Day Without Women”, a nationwide women’s strike in the US. On this day women were “to refrain from work, childcare, shopping, cooking or any form of labor and instead demonstrate against gender injustice in all its many forms.” For some, this is a first but when looking at women’s history you will find multiple moments across the globe where women have gone on strike to display their importance to society as well as for their voice to be heard.
From demands for better wages to a call on end of a conflict, we have had various subjects be at the center of strikes by women. Two decades after the Emancipation Proclamation, which signaled the end of slavery in America, African American women in Atlanta, Georgia, who worked as laundresses went on strike. They did so to demand an increase in their wages and to have it known to their white employers that they are very much present. “The white establishment was forced to acknowledge that black women workers, who were former slaves, were not invisible.”
You will find throughout history, women using the tactic of withholding sex, a tactic viewed as controversial at times, to push along a cause. This method is known as Lysistratic Non-Action named from “Lysistrata, a Greek comedy by Aristophanes, which tells the story of a woman determined to end the Peloponnesian War” by withholding sex. We have seen it used across the globe in countries as Colombia and Liberia, with varying degrees of success.
One of the most recent strikes, occurred in Poland, where women came out in droves to protest the impending legislation that would ban abortion in the country. Known as Black Monday, “thousands of [women] dressed in black and waving signs, flooded the streets of 60 Polish cites to voice their disdain for the ban.” The Polish government in the end reversed their decision on the total ban of abortions, due to the action of the women of Poland.
When women come together to be heard, it is always powerful. Although the results may vary, the comradery and bond between the women makes it a truly momentous occasion, one in which we will most likely see again and again across the globe in the years to come.
 Claire Lampen, “When Women Strike: What history shows us “A Day Without a Woman” can hope to achieve,” Mic Network, March 03, 2017, https://mic.com/articles/169901/when-women-strike-what-history-shows-us-a-day-without-a-woman-can-hope-to-achieve#.YsgqkNITE.
 “Atlanta’s Washerwomen Strike,” AFL-CIO, http://www.aflcio.org/About/Our-History/Key-Events-in-Labor-History/Atlanta-s-Washerwomen-Strike.
 Nandita Raghuram, “No Rights, No Sex: The Powerful History of Women Going on Strike,” Vice, October 5, 2016, https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/no-rights-no-sex-the-powerful-history-of-women-going-on-strike.
 Lampen, “When Women Strike.”