Demonstrators in Winchester, Va., rally Jan. 21 in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. (Coy Ferrell, flickr)

What would happen without women? Paola Mendoza, co-artistic director of the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington, wanted to find out, so she organized the “A Day Without a Woman” strike to demonstrate “a day without us is actually a day when the world stops functioning.”

In the case of Alexandria, Va., she is right.

More than 300 staff members of the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) district requested leave for March 8, the day of the demonstration. The huge number of requests resulted in the district’s closure and a lost day of instruction for its 15,056 students.

Helen Lloyd, the director of communications for the ACPS, relayed the message to the public:”When personal leave is requested, we are not in a position to deny it [and] staff have requested leave for multiple reasons on this day—one of which is in support of the Day Without Women [sic].” Lloyd said no rules were broken and described parent and student reactions to the closure as “mixed.”

READ: International Women’s Day Live Blog: What ‘A Day Without a Woman’ Looks Like

Although the school complied with the request, the school district’s superintendent, Alvin L. Crawley, stated in a letter sent to parents that the closure “is not based on a political stance or position.”

“The decision is based solely on our ability to provide sufficient staff to cover all our classrooms, and the impact of high staff absenteeism on student safety and delivery of instruction,” Crawley said in the letter.

While the Alexandria school district has been shut down for the day, organizers of the “Day Without a Woman” demonstration were prepared for women across the nation to follow suit, building on the momentum generated from the Women’s March on Washington that took place on Jan. 21, the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

The purpose of the “Day Without a Woman” strike is to promote ”economic solidarity” by encouraging women to abstain from work and avoid shopping, except at businesses owned by women and minorities. Women are also encouraged to wear red.

READ: ‘A Day Without a Woman’: The Global Strike and Growing Movement Against Donald Trump

“The point to that is not just to cause chaos and disruption for disruption’s sake but to actually say you need us,” Mendoza said. “So respect us, hear our voices. Allow us to be represented the way we should be.”


You know the story. Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media. During this holiday season, you can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearth what's really happening- without compromise. Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.

As always, we wish you truth, reason and the best of the season!