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Views from A Day Without A Woman in New York City

International Women’s Day shows its activist roots

International Women’s Day has its roots in protest. A 1909 strike by the Women Garment Workers of New York against unsafe working conditions is considered to be the first ever women’s day. More than a century later, the day continues to bring attention to injustices facing women, in America and around the world, and has frequently sparked organized efforts in the fight for equality.

One of those recent efforts was yesterday’s general strike, known as A Day Without a Woman. Organized by the team behind the Women’s March this past January, A Day Without a Woman asked participants to “act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.” Organizers called for women to refrain from work, paid and unpaid if possible, only spending money if necessary (and only at women-owned businesses), and to wear red.

Although the strike didn’t draw nearly as many people as the Women’s March, people in New York City took to the streets yesterday. I photographed two gatherings in Manhattan, one at 59th Street and one at Washington Square Park. Homemade signs proclaimed slogans such as “Nevertheless, She Persisted,” quotes from Ida B. Wells, support for intersectional feminism, and trans rights. Whatever the message, those attending the rallies used the moment to make it clear that, for women around the world, the day was not business as usual.

Supporters of A Day Without a Woman gathered at 59th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City.
Protestors rallied at 59th Street and 5th Avenue before a group marched to Trump Tower.
A Day Without a Woman / General Strike rally at 59th Street and 5th Avenue listen to speakers addressing the crowd.
Artist Kate Hamberger walks past the crowd gathered at 59th and Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Handmade signs were displayed by many who gathered for A Day Without A Woman at the southeast corner of Central Park in New York City.
Crowds gathered at the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street for a rally for A Day Without a Woman.
A rally in Washington Square Park drew large crowds to support A Day Without A Woman and International Women’s Day.
A rally for A Day Without a Woman at Washington Square Park in New York City.
A group of women from The New York Metro Raging Grannies sing near the northern entrance to Washington Square Park.
Washington Square Park, New York City.
Speakers address a crowd at Washington Square Park.
Washington Square Park rally for A Day Without a Woman on International Women’s Day.
A crowd at Washington Square Park begins to march after a rally for A Day Without a Woman.

Photography by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge