East Bay women take to the streets in show of resistance against inequality
“We are the power.”
Met with roars of approval from a crowd of hundreds clad in red shirts and pink hats, Shannon Malloy’s rallying cry echoed across the amphitheater of Frank H. Ogawa Plaza March 8, beginning a demonstration and march celebrating International Women’s Day.
Malloy, an organizer for Oakland Women’s Strike Organizing Collective, was one of many who spoke at the rally, whose themes included protection of women’s reproductive rights, denouncing the gender wage gap, and above all, unity.
Malloy was followed by Tranica Cooks of the International Women’s Strike.
“There are different groups of women who are here. We’re trying to be in solidarity with each other. We don’t have to be anything alike to help each other,” Cooks said. “As a whole, as a unit, we can get things changed.”
Women and supporters hoisted signs declaring support for sex workers, defending women’s need for reproductive rights, and decrying President Trump’s comments about women and his stance on defunding Planned Parenthood.
“This didn’t just start with Trump and it’s not going to end with Trump,” Cooks said. “We want everyone to realize that it’s much simpler to get things changed than we believe it to be.”
The text of the health care act defines “Prohibited Entity” as an organization that “provides for abortions” of pregnancies that are neither non-life threatening to the mother nor the result of rape.
Therefore, the Republican version of healthcare would effectively halt federal funding to organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
The march in Oakland coincided with the International Women’s Strike — called “General Strike: A Day Without a Woman” on the Women’s March’s social media accounts — which called for women around the world to skip work in order to detail the importance of women in the workplace and call attention to the average wage gap between men and women doing the same job.
Women of color typically make even less than the national average, with African American women making only 60 cents and Latinas only 54 cents to the dollar that men earn.
In addition, the law center states that nearly two-thirds of the minimum wage workers in the United States are women.
According to The Guardian, the effects of the International Women’s Strike rippled around the world. Schools were closed in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.
Traffic was shut down in Dublin by thousands of marchers protesting the ban on abortion in Ireland.
Dozens of child-care centers closed across Australia when more than 1000 child-care workers left their jobs for the strike.
Although the strike was supported by women around the globe, it has been criticized by some for catering to privileged women.
In an article for Quartz (Qz.com), Maureen Shaw wrote that “in practice, most American women cannot afford to opt out of either paid or unpaid labor.”
For The Federalist, Audrey Rabenberg wrote that the International Women’s Strike “assumes the privilege of being able to pause one’s work at will… of being able to shuffle duties like child or elder care to someone else” and “categorically demands more risk of women in lower-income brackets in jobs requiring low-specificity skill sets, and without a support system.”
But for many of those who attended the Oakland march, criticism was reserved for President Trump and wage inequities.
Cooks maintained that, aside from solidarity, constant defiance was the key to positive change.
“Our governments will never teach us how to change anything,” she said. “We have to figure it out for ourselves.”