Women's Day sparks ‘Day without a Woman' movement

Women withholding business, labor in call for equal human rights

ORLANDO, Fla. – Women around the world Wednesday are calling for equal human rights by staying home and withholding their business.

In case you wonder where your female co-workers and peers are Wednesday they might be participating in a “Day without a Woman,” an international event organized by the same people who started the Women’s March on Washington.

March 8 is the U.N.-designated International Women’s Day and organizers are calling on all women to strike for the day by withholding their labor and their business. The organization said they were inspired by the recent “Day without Immigrants," which took place across the U.S, according to its website.

Not everyone can take a day off from work, but there are other ways to participate.

Students at the University of Central Florida celebrated International Women's Day by reflecting how far women have come and also how far they still have to go.

"I want to keep fighting for equality and all that good stuff about being a woman," UCF junior Lisa Hernandez said.

UCF's Multicultural Student Center invited students to write down what it means to be a woman and what feminism means to them. Some students wrote about equality and justice, adding being a woman means being strong.

Organizers said the booth was meant to start conversations.

"One person literally wrote on her paper that women give life to all. You can't argue with that," Luis Feliciano, the graduate assistant for UCF's Multicultural Student Center, said. "A lot of conversations about girl power and how equality is meant for everyone."

Feliciano said it is also a day to acknowledge the progress that has been made.

"It's critical that we give recognition to all the women in our lives, in all senses of the word, be it a mother, daughter, astronaut, writer, all those things," Feliciano said. 

In Volusia County, the Indivisible Volusia and Indivisible Daytona group met at Sweet Marlays’ Coffee and Cress Restaurant to discuss women's right locally and nationwide and ask Florida leaders to take a stand on gender parity.

Women wrote postcards to members of Congress.

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In Orlando, the women who organized the Jan. 21 rally at Lake Eola will host another event at the amphitheater in conjunction with Women’s March Florida.

A vigil starting at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday will honor those who have experienced violence and exploitation, according to the Facebook event page.

Attendees are encouraged to wear red and bring a canned food item for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. See a list of critically needed items here.

Women are also striking by avoiding shopping Wednesday and wearing red in solidarity. Female consumers make up 70 to 80 percent of all consumers purchasing, according to Forbes.

"A Day Without a Woman" spokeswoman Cassady Findlay said the action is aimed at highlighting the effect of women on the country's socio-economic system and demonstrating how the paid and unpaid work of women keeps households, communities and economies running.

The role of women in American society is significant. According to the U.S. Census, women make up more than 47 percent of the workforce and are dominant in professions including registered nurses, dental assistants, cashiers, accountants and pharmacists. They make up at least a third of physicians and surgeons, as well as lawyers and judges. Women also represent 55 percent of all college students.

Still, American women continue to be paid less than men, earning 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. The median income for women was $40,742 in 2015, compared with $51,212 for men, according to census data.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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