“Productive work is the road of woman’s unlimited achievement and calls upon the highest attributes of her character: her creative ability, her ambitiousness, her self-assertiveness...her dedication to the goal of reshaping the earth in the image of her values.”
Recognize the quote above? The gender pronouns may have been changed, but the wisdom of the author is eternal, and never more relevant than today, on this so called “Day Without Woman.”
Ayn Rand was not just a philosopher who celebrated productive work as the purpose of a human being’s life, she herself was an enormously hard working novelist, philosopher and advocate of human rights (inclusive of women’s rights, ladies). True, she used the device of a “strike” to demonstrate how when one removes the pillars (the most creative, productive elements) of an economy, the economy -- and society -- will collapse.
But today, the women's strike supporters call on us to stand for something by doing nothing. Other women -- like me -- will celebrate working women by living our values: work, creativity, and production.
Our motto: “I am woman, watch me work.”
Somehow this is a controversial viewpoint for an American woman to have on March 8, 2017. Or at least that’s my interpretation from the sentiments I’ve seen on social media and in the press surrounding the movement, “A Day Without a Woman.”
It appears that the movement and its proposal for women to take the day off from paid and unpaid labor is pushing women into a forced dichotomy: celebrating the women who participate in the strike and condemning those who do not as anti-feminist, pro-Trump, or simply not a “girl’s girl.”
As an alternative to participation in the women’s strike, I propose that working on March 8 is both rational and in the interest of women.
First off, I reject the idea that a particular group is speaking on behalf of all women. I believe that each woman is a unique individual with her own goals and beliefs, and the issues being raised by the strike are too complex to warrant mass acceptance or rejection. The mission stated by the strike includes much more than no-brainers like equal pay for women and men as well as an end to sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace — it also calls for national health care for all, a $15 minimum wage, free childcare, and other topics that women may wish to consider more carefully.
According to the organizers of A Day Without a Woman, they hope that women who do not go to work will call attention to “the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system — along with the pervasive and systemic gender-based inequalities that still exist within our society, from the wage gap to vulnerability and discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”
To me, the obvious way to show the value that women bring to our society and economy is to work, to produce, to contribute. By showing up to work and doing your job well, a woman wields much more power than when she is sitting on the sidelines.
So I will celebrate International Women’s Day by working on March 8. I own my own business — and I happen to be a woman. I have sacrificed and worked hard to do what I love for a living. Not working is detrimental to my clients, to me, and to achieving my goals. My clients deserve my best effort every day — March 8 included — and I won’t let them down.
I’m also working to honor my ancestors who came to America one hundred years ago for the opportunity to build a better life. They worked much harder than I do today, earned far less, and faced more adversity and discrimination than I can imagine.
On International Women’s Day, I think of women who live in countries or cultures that do not approve of them working outside the home or owning a business. I imagine that many of them would not understand why American women, who have so much freedom, would choose not to work, not to support their families, not to assert their independence. This is a luxury that many women in the world do not have.
And instead of focusing on the women who choose not to work, let’s celebrate the women who show up to work each day in roles that are extremely valuable, yet often under-appreciated: military personnel, police, and other first responders. Women in these roles protect and serve every day, and they deserve recognition on International Women’s Day.
So there you have it: a few reasons why I choose to work on March 8. This article is not meant to condemn women who strike (after all, this is America and as Madonna once said, “Express Yourself!”). And for the women who are proud of the work we do — don’t be afraid to show it today! Produce. Create. Celebrate.
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