Today has been declared A Day Without Women, brought to you by the same ladies who organized the Women’s March. The premise is to show through female solidarity and protest how truly important, necessary and integral women are to the functioning of our American society. I will be participating. Now before you start patting me on the back for my courage to stand up in defiance of the patriarchy with my fellow sisters and like-minded brothers, it just so happens that today, March 8, falls on my day off.
I have a particular job that does not allow me certain freedoms to come and go, to speak freely, or to just randomly and defiantly “take the day off.” I am a doctor. I have responsibilities. Doctors don’t unionize and we rarely walk off the job in protest. We just go to work and do our job because that’s what is expected of us.
So I was really happy that A Day Without Women and my day off coincided. I am not exactly sure, though, how this is supposed to work. I have been giving it careful consideration. I really can’t take the whole day off. I have to take the kids to school and pick them up. If I kept them home, well, that would certainly be no day off for me. There will be lunches to prepare and drinks to be gotten, fights to be broken up, spills to be cleaned, questions to be answered, stories to be read. In other words, a lot of work. I also desperately need to go to the grocery store. The milk is almost gone and there is one slice of bread left, that end piece, which no one ever eats anyway. I always do my grocery shopping on my day off. The same goes for cleaning the house. That happens on Wednesdays, too.
To think that after all of these years, after all of these struggles, protests and picketing, women in America — the greatest and most free country in the world — still have to fight for the right to be equal. To think that the rights to equal education and pay, health care and career opportunities for women are still something we have to persuade people we deserve. It seems unimaginable. Those fights were already won. But it’s a delicate freedom, delicate like my uterus, a uterus that needs to be protected . . . from me . . . even though it’s mine.
A Day Without Women is nearly impossible to pull off. Mostly because as women, we know that if the job is going to get done (like groceries and housework on Wednesdays) then we are going to have to do it. If the country needs to be moved forward to increase the freedoms of its occupants, then we are going to have to do it. If change needs to happen to heal our environment, make a place for our children and their futures, provide health care to our families, well, then we are going to have to do it. No one is going to do it for us.
As women, we know there really are no days off.