Hundreds Rally in Boston for ‘Day Without Women’
By Samantha-Rae Tuthill | March 9, 2017, 10:03 EST
BOSTON — Hundreds of people gathered in Downtown Crossing on Wednesday evening in support of the Day Without Women Rally, one of many such events that took place across the country on International Women’s Day.
Following the momentum of the Women’s Marches held the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, collaborators designated March 8 as a “Day Without Women,” in which women were asked to temporarily strike from working or shopping to emphasize the role that they play in their economies.
Dozens of local organizations, such as the Boston Teacher’s Union, the Chinese Progressive Association, and the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) sponsored the rally to raise awareness for myriad issues they believe Boston’s women are facing today, including pay inequality, insufficient affordable childcare options, and increasing rent prices across the city.
Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George spoke to the crowd about the importance of female leadership in government to help bring a voice to women’s issues and effect the changes they deem necessary.
“As much as I like to show my boys that women can be leaders, there aren’t enough of us yet,” she said. “I want to encourage all of you, whether you are interested in running for office, or know someone who is that you can help, it’s your obligation, it’s your responsibility to get out and do that.”
Intersectionality, which refers to the interconnectedness of social categories, was a key theme across the presentations. Union representatives emphasized that many of the economic challenges women face are affecting men as well, and that addressing health care and low wages can help improve the quality of life for everyone. Speakers from the Chinese Progressive Association explained the difficulties caused by low wages in Chinatown, where the annual median income of $20,000 is just a third of the overall Boston average and rent costs are rising to unmanageable levels for many residents.
Immigration and race were also heavily addressed as presenters called for unification among the attendees.
“More than ever we need to cross boundaries and we need to strongly stand together against sexism and racism,” said Natalicia Tracy, executive director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Boston. “Together we are stronger. We are here today in the hope that we can continue together, because together we can do this.”
Rally attendee Shamaiah Turner, who is on the Board of Directors for WILD, said that she saw the gathering as a showcase for solidarity as well.
“There are so many women out there who don’t have their voices heard and who couldn’t be here today because of other obligations,” she said. “I’m able to be here and be a voice for them, because if my sister isn’t doing well then I’m not doing well either. We all need to have our rights and have our voices heard.”
Turner added that her organization is hosting a workshop on Saturday, March 11 to help women learn strategies to advocate for their rights and take care of themselves in the process.
Organizations across the city will continue to sponsor similar events in the coming weeks, some as part of the Women’s March 10 Actions in 100 Days campaign, to raise awareness for various social issues.
Watch video of the rally: