Why I Strike

Dixie Mullins and Ciara Jarvis

A female friend recently asked me what is the purpose of the women’s strike on March 8? Why take this action? After bringing my jaw back into alignment. I wondered why she had to ask. It seemed obvious to me, but I understand every one has different experiences.

For me there are many reasons: a sense that women are undervalued and under attack, a belief that my voice matters, and a history of feminism that goes back to my mom’s struggles.

The reality of my life/role as a woman in America fully came to light when as a child I watched my mom divorce my dad in 1974. Today that isn’t such a big deal, but in the early 70’s it was like climbing Mount Everest. The Baptist church banned her, friends walked away, and family disagreed. But through all this, she persevered only to be hit again with economic and work-related discrimination.

Many don’t know or don’t remember that not so long ago women had little or no economic power beyond their husbands. Although Mom had worked full time for a decade or more, she had no credit history. She had trouble getting the electric, phone and water switched to her name when the divorce was final. Although she was the primary provider and parent for two children, to the utility companies and banks, she was a non-person.

Just before the divorce she worked as a nurse and faced harsh criticism and belittlement from the male doctors on a daily basis. While she is a highly intelligent person and fought for the care of her patients, the doctor’s again treated her as a non-person.

So I strike for the future of my daughter and the celebration of my mom. I strike to acknowledge those brave women that came before me and to bring attention to how far we still have to go in our fight for equality. And it isn’t just the big inequalities like equal pay and equal job advancement. It's the negative judgement of women that speak up and voice their opinions. It's the government stepping into personal health decisions between my doctor and I. It's the disproportionate research funding for women's health needs.

I want the gains that my mother and her contemporaries achieved to be the stepping blocks to complete equality between the men, women, nationalities, religious beliefs and sexual orientation. I do not want the struggles my mother, and I worked against to be in vain or to be reversed. I certainly don’t want my daughter to face the continued discrimination and sexism that comes with being a woman and in some cases treated as a non-person.

This is why I am striking on March 8. I will not shop or work. I believe and hope that many other women will join me. I also realize some women will not be able to strike due to circumstances or choice, but I do hope they consider wearing red to support this initiative to be heard. So join me if you can and send a message that we are numerous, we are determined, and will not be treated as a non-person.

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