The Day Women Went on Strike

http://time.com/4008060/women-strike-equality-1970/

On Aug. 26, 1970, a full 50 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, 50,000 feminists paraded down New York City’s Fifth Avenue with linked arms, blocking the major thoroughfare during rush hour. Now, 45 years later, the legacy of that day continues to evolve…

Friedan’s original idea for Aug. 26 was a national work stoppage, in which women would cease cooking and cleaning in order to draw attention to the unequal distribution of domestic labor, an issue she discussed in her 1963 bestseller The Feminine Mystique. It isn’t clear how many women truly went on “strike” that day, but the march served as a powerful symbolic gesture. Participants held signs with slogans like “Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot” and “Don’t Cook Dinner – Starve a Rat Today.” …

The day of activism reached beyond New York City, as thousands of feminists across the country coordinated sister demonstrations. A full range of creative, confrontational tactics was on display, as activists infiltrated “all male” bars and restaurants, held teach-ins and sit-ins, picketed and rallied, in Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston, Berkeley and New Orleans. One thousand women marched on the nation’s capital, holding a banner that read “We Demand Equality.” In Los Angeles, feminists wearing Richard Nixon masks enacted guerrilla street theater. “The solidarity was completely exhilarating,” Antler recalls…

Perhaps the least amount of progress has been made in the area of childcare, which remains prohibitively expensive for many American women. In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act, which would have set up local day care centers for children on a sliding scale based on family income, but Nixon vetoed the bill. While President Obama has spoken about making affordable childcare a national priority, there are no current plans to offer government-funded, round-the-clock care in the United States as feminists had initially envisioned. As of 2014, the average annual cost of enrolling in a daycare center for an infant is, in most states, higher than the cost of a public college in that state…

So the long-term results of the Strike for Equality March have been mixed. But in the short-term, the event did accomplish one major goal: it helped make the feminist movement visible…

Can chronic pain patients go on strike? What would that look like?

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